Disembarking from a momentous flight, dozens of Ethiopians arrived in Israel, waving Israeli flags, hugging family and friends, and taking selfies. Their smiles beamed pure bliss — they were home.

Their arrival was shared on social media on June 1. The flight was chartered by The Jewish Agency for Israel, a long-standing partner agency of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, as part of the continuation of Operation Zur Israel.

In the next few months, 3,000 Ethiopian olim (immigrants) will arrive in Israel to be reunited with families after many years apart. Local lay leader Shayna Bloom from the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, joined dozens of other community leaders from Jewish Federations of North America, as part of a welcoming delegation on the flight.

Sharing an unforgettable homecoming

“Saying ‘shalom’ to the olim in the airport just before they boarded the plane, I noticed their excitement and nervousness. I was seated next to a middle school teacher, who has two sisters already in Israel, and he hadn’t seen them in 10 years. He’s joined by his three sisters, two brothers and his mom on the flight. He is excited to learn Hebrew and find a job teaching children here in Israel,” Bloom said.

During the mission trip, the leaders, including Bloom, met with community members awaiting aliyah in Gondar and Addis Ababa and visited sites of historical significance for Ethiopian Jewry. The leaders were joined by other officials from the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

Your support welcomes “home” Jews from around the globe

The events were organized by ENP, an organization that works to ensure the full and successful integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society. (https://www.enp.org.il/en/programs.php)

ENP was created by a Government of Israel decision, as a shared initiative with global supporters and Ethiopian-Israelis, to address the greatest barriers to the full and successful integration of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants and their children into Israeli society. Today, ENP operates in 26 communities across Israel, serving 4,500 youth in its scholastic assistance programs and hundreds of parents and leaders.

Thanks to your generous support of our agencies overseas, such as the Jewish Agency for Israel and ENP, Jewish people from around the globe are making Israel their “home.”