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Thursday, November 1, 2012

THE INGATHERING: OPERATION DOVE TO BRING HOME LAST OF ETHIOPIAN JEWS

Source: Israel Today
By Ryan Jones


Israel this week officially launched "Operation Dove" to bring home the last of Ethiopia's Jews. The first flight in Operation Dove landed in Tel Aviv on Monday with 240 of Ethiopia's "Falash Mura."

The Falash Mura are part of an Ethiopian tribe that long went by the name of "Beta Israel" - the House of Israel. Sometime during the past two centuries, a large number of Beta Israel tribesmen converted to Christianity. For some the conversion was forced, for others adopting Christianity was the only way to gain full human rights.

But conversion notwithstanding, when Ethiopia entered a period of civil war in the 1980s, the Jews living there began to face increased persecution. Israel sprung into action, and in two dramatic airlift operations, one in 1984 and another in 1991, managed to transplant over 20,000 members of a previously "lost tribe" of Israel to the reborn Jewish state.

But a large number were left behind, and eventually moved into refugee camps. Some have been waiting there for over 10 years to be reunited with family and friends in Israel.

Between now and March 2014, Operation Dove will see the remainder of those Ethiopian Jews returned to the land of their forefathers.

However, touching down in Israel does not mean the end of troubles for many of these returning Jews. More than any other immigrant group, Ethiopian Jews have a difficult time adjusting to life in Israel. The language and Western-influenced customs are so totally foreign to them, leaving most Ethiopian Jews to scratch out a meager living.

Israel Today is honored to be one of the local organizations striving to make life a little easier for the returning Ethiopian Jews.

More than providing food and clothing, an Israel Today "Bundle of Love" package provides comfort and demonstrates to these immigrants that there are Christians out there who love them and are rooting for their success as part of the Nation of Israel.