>>>The Aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry
The Aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry 2018-02-19T22:11:59+00:00

The Aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry

Next year in Jerusalem

The Jews of Ethiopia are called “Beta Israel”. According to tradition, the origin of Ethiopian Jewry is the Dan tribe. They reached Ethiopia in the period of the First and Second Temple. In 1956, the first group of 27 young Ethiopian men and women arrived in Israel.

Beta Israel

Beta Israel’s traditions are unique among all the traditions of the Jewish nation, mostly because it adheres to the oral tradition which preceded “Chazal”, the sages. The reason for their uniqueness is their lengthy separation from all the other Jewish communities which continued for many generations.
The Jews of Ethiopia stood out in Ethiopia because of their rich, independent history, their religion, and their special customs and culture.

BETA

The Beta Jews had synagogues for the observant, purification houses for women and their own cemeteries. They maintained a wide range of religious services, including religious leaders (Kessim or Cohentoch). These characteristics distinguished the Ethiopian Jews from other religious groups in Ethiopia. In addition to the special traditions – a holy language, sacred writings, special religious holidays and customs – there are also customs and fields of activity, religious and secular, which are unique to the community. Among the original works of art of the Ethiopian community, pottery of Beta Jews and sacred songs of the Beta Jews can be found.

The Ethiopian Jews Make Aliyah

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Starting in 1977, many Ethiopians have come on aliyah. There were several reasons for the increase in the number of Ethiopian immigrants. In 1973, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ruled that the Ethiopian Jews were Jewish. At the same time, relations with the Ethiopian Jewish community were strengthened. Ethiopia was also undergoing internal developments, such as migration to urban centers, together with attacks on Jews. These factors raised the fear that the Jewish community in Ethiopia was in danger. By 1984, 7,000 Ethiopian Jews came to Israel. In 1984, Israel conducted “Operation Moshe (Moses)” in which another 7,000 Ethiopian Jews came to Israel and “Operation Malkat Sheva ( Queen of Sheba)” in which 12,000 more made aliyah. In 1991, “Operation Shlomo (Solomon)” brought 15,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

SONG OF THE VOYAGE 
Words: Haim Idisis
Music :Shlomo Gronich

The moon watching over above

On my back, the meager bag of food

The desert beneath me, no end in front

And my mama promises my little brothers…



A bit more, a little more

To lift you your legs

A final effort

Before Jerusalem



The strong moonlight scene

Our bag of food got lost

The never-ending desert, the howls of jackals

And my mum calms my little brothers…



Another moment, a little more,

Soon we will be redeemed

We won’t stop going, to the land of Israel


And in the night, bandits attacked

With knives and a sharp sword

In the desert, the blood of my mum, the moon my witness and I promise my little brothers



Just a moment, a little more

The dream will be fulfilled

Soon we will arrive, to the land of Israel


In the moon, my mama’s image

Looking at me. Mum, don’t disappear from me!

If only she was by my side, she would be able to convince them, that I’m Jewish



A moment more, a little more

The dream will be fulfilled

Soon we will arrive, to the land of Israel


A moment more, a little more

Lift your legs

A final effort

Before Jerusalem.

Operation Moshe

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In 1975, there was a change in the government in Ethiopia. The Christian emperor was replaced by a revolutionary Marxist regime. Several months later, the Jews’ situation worsened and attacks against them increased. As a result, thousands left their homes and made their way to Sudan. It was an arduous journey on foot which lasted anywhere from three to five weeks and sometimes dragged on for half a year or more. Since the journeys were illegal, those who were caught and arrested had to start the journey all over again.

The journey took them to unknown areas of swamplands and deserts with a scorching sun overhead. Fear of being caught by the authorities or by thieves was their constant companion. The Israeli government made great efforts to convince the Sudanese ruler, Gaafar Nimeiry to allow the Ethiopian Jews that reached Sudan to continue to Israel. At first, the Jews were flown to Kenya and from there to Israel. In the second stage, the Jews were brought to a Sudanese shore that was readied for the mission, and from there they were taken to small waiting boats, which took them to Israeli navy boats that awaited them in the Red Sea. This method brought, 2000 Ethiopians to Israel in 1981. In 1984, 10,000 people were living in camps in Sudan, and the operation to save them went on for months. Towards the end of November, an extensive secret operation to bring the immigrants by plane was carried out – “Operation Moshe”. The immigrants were taken from Sudan to Europe and from there to Israel. The first airplane landed in Israel on November 21, 1984 and over the next month and a half, 7,000 immigrants arrived in Israel.

moshe1

In January, 1984, the story of the operation leaked to the international press. The Sudanese emperor, who feared the reaction of the radical Arab states, stopped the operation. Following the intervention of the United States, the Sudanese emperor allowed the rescue of the last of the Ethiopian Jews in Sudan. The end of the operation resulted in divided families as some had made it to Israel, while others were still in Ethiopia. In the 1980s, approximately 16,000 Ethiopian Jews came to Israel.

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הבהרה חשובה :

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