A group of 130 olim from Ethiopia arrived in Israel on Wednesday, marking the end of the second phase of Operation Tzur Israel. The Olim were reunited with their families in Israel, often after a long separation.
The second phase of Operation Tzur Israel, which began in June 2022 following a government decision, has brought 3,000 new Olim from Ethiopia, in addition to the 2,000 who arrived in the first phase. In total, 5,000 olim from Ethiopia have arrived so far, of whom 70% are under the age of 35, and half are children and teenagers.
Special programs were opened for the optimal absorption of the Olim, as part of the operation.
The first phase of Operation Tzur Israel, which was launched in December 2020, aimed to reunite individuals in Gondar and Addis Ababa with their first-degree relatives in Israel.
The Jewish Agency was tasked with implementing the operation and coordinated 18 special flights to bring the 5,000 olim to Israel. The Jewish Agency worked closely with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Ministry of the Interior, the Population Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Health to carry out the government’s plans. The efforts were also made possible with the help of Jewish Federations, Keren Hayesod, private donors and foundations, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, as well as friends of Israel from Korea and around the world.
The new olim were immediately settled in 18 absorption centers across the country that are operated by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and The Jewish Agency, where they spend their initial period in Israel. To meet the demand of the influx of new Olim, the Jewish Agency and the Ministry opened five new absorption centers. When new Ethiopian immigrants arrive in Israel, they experience a “soft landing” by transitioning into their new lives at absorption centers, with the assistance of The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. The immigrants receive financial support and guidance, including Hebrew language education and preparation for integration into the jobs market and the education system.
One special program to optimize the absorption process is being conducted in Kiryat Gat, in cooperation with UJA-Federation of New York, whereby families were placed in rented apartments in the city. The organizations also launched the very first Aliyah Tech program, designed to enable young Olim from Ethiopia to integrate into the high-tech industry. They also established a special track for academia-minded olim from Ethiopia together with other olim at Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem.
“By completing this milestone in Operation Tzur Israel, and continuing to facilitate the Aliyah and absorption of Ethiopians who have long yearned to arrive in the Jewish homeland, we have actualized the core value of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to advocate for the most vulnerable individuals among us,” said Mark Wilf, Chairman of the Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency. “Indeed, when Ethiopian olim arrive in Israel, the immense emotion and significance of the moment is never taken for granted.”