ICEJ Flight Reunites Ethiopian Jewish Families in Israel
One father finally sees children after 20-year wait
This week, a group of staff from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was on hand at Ben-Gurion Airport to welcome a specially chartered flight bringing 160 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants home to Israel. While we knew these newcomers were excited to reunite with family members they had not seen in years, witnessing the raw emotions of this moment in person was deeply moving, especially in the case of a father who finally embraced his two oldest children after enduring 20 painful years of separation while waiting for them to arrive in Israel.
The ICEJ-sponsored flight on Tuesday was part of the resumed airlift operation Tzur Yisrael (“Rock of Israel”), which aims to bring as many as 3,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel this year. With this week’s flight, the Christian Embassy has now supported the Aliyah of more than half of the Ethiopian Jews (2,750 out of 5,197) who have immigrated to Israel since 2015, when the Israeli cabinet decided to resume Ethiopian immigration on the basis of family reunification.
The plane load of new immigrants on Tuesday ranged in age from young babies in arm to grandparents on walking canes. Our first impressions on meeting this sea of faces swung from the readily apparent joy of the young children to the often anxious looks on many parents.