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June 7, 2017 3:53 pm

First Wave of Ethiopian Jews Arrive in Israel Since Special Aliyah Program’s Renewal

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An Ethiopian Jewish child arriving in Israel in 2009. Photo: The Jewish Agency for Israel via Flickr. – Seventy-two new Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday night, a first since the Israeli government renewed the Ethiopian aliyah program in October 2016.

More than 200 families and supporters greeted the new immigrants at the airport, with three more such flights expected to arrive this month.

The renewed Ethiopian aliyah program has been a collaborative effort of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), a Christian Zionist global ministry.

ICEJ has also worked to raise funds to bankroll the first year the immigration program, which will bring 1,400 new immigrants to the Jewish state.

Some 9,000 Jews still reside in Ethiopia and are awaiting Israeli government approval to make aliyah.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his wife to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

“The Ethiopian community, Mr. Prime Minister, is a human bridge between our two nations,” Netanyahu said at the meeting.

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