Last immigrants from Ethiopia land in Israel, ending a 30-year saga
By Ofer Aderet
The last 450 immigrants from Ethiopia landed in Israel on Wednesday afternoon, ending a 30-year national project. However, hundreds or even thousands of others remain in a camp in Ethiopia, as Israel has refused to let them in.
Wednesday’s landing completed the effort’s final stage, which consisted of 91 flights over the past three years, bringing in the last 7,864 Falashmura whom the government allowed to immigrate.
Hundreds of excited family members and friends, some of whom arrived from Ethiopia only a few months ago, filled Terminal 1 at Ben-Gurion International Airport to greet the newcomers. Pictures of the immigrants coming off the plane and making their first steps on Israeli soil were broadcast onto a large cinema screen in the hall. The crowd applauded and cheered every time a familiar face appeared on the screen.
As the new immigrants entered the terminal gates their relatives rushed toward them, hugging and kissing them.
“We’re waiting for our eldest daughter, Dababash, 22 years old,” said Elmo Gent, 48, who came from Ethiopia nine months ago and is staying with his wife Athatgev in the Ivim Absorption Center in the Negev. The couple has six children.
“It’s only been nine months [in Israel for the family], but it seems like years. I’m very excited that she’s joining us,” he tells Haaretz in Amharic. Ivim center director Moshe Bata, who accompanied the family, served as translator. Read more