Ben Gurion Airport was abuzz with excitement today as 240 Ethiopian Jews landed in Israel, their spiritual homeland. After waiting years to make aliyah, they were finally approved for this life-changing move as part of a final push to send the remaining Ethiopian Jews to the Holy Land.
This series of flights is called Operation Dove’s Wings, and The Fellowship has been deeply involved in making it happen.
The new immigrants – dressed in their white holiday clothes to mark this milestone – were greeted at the airport by excited family, members of the press, and The Fellowship’s Rabbi Eckstein and Yael Eckstein, who saw many emotional reunions – including a grandmother who met her five grandchildren for the first time and a 25-year-old woman who was reunited with her brother and grandmother.
Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, a Fellowship partner organization, was also at this welcoming ceremony, where he told the new arrivals it is because of The Fellowship they are home and that they were cared for in Ethiopia.
Yael noted that in this week’s Torah portion God tells Abraham to leave his land and his family and go to a place He would show him. “It is from God that this week the Ethiopians left the land of their birth to come to Israel ‘on the shoulders of the gentiles,’” Yael said.
For more images, check out our Flickr photo gallery of the event.