Ethiopian Jews, from Operation Solomon to the Present
Video Credit: AJ+
On May 24, 1991, Israel launched an aerial operation that lifted more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews (also known as Beta Israel) out of war-ravaged Ethiopia to begin a new life in Israel. Although similar operations (Moses and Joshua) had been carried out before, Operation Solomon, a coordination of Israeli, American, and Ethiopian efforts, was distinctive in its scale. It set the record for the largest number of passengers on a single flight as 1,087 registered Ethiopians boarded a single El Al plane, fleeing the country before an anticipated coup.
Twenty-five years later, the number of Israelis of Ethiopian descent has grown to more than 100,000, including a growing Israel-native generation. Last summer, the community was thrust into the international spotlight after anti-racism protests erupted following police officers’ assault on an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent. Discrimination, poverty, and relatively low educational attainment rates have continued to plague many Ethiopian Jews in Israel, but ongoing advocacy is pushing for increased public recognition of the vulnerabilities the community faces and steps to redress inequality.
“On This Day in 1991, IDF Makes a Miracle With ‘Operation Solomon’” (The Jewish Press)
“Operation Solomon: Airlifting 14,000 Jews out of Ethiopia” (BBC)
“Tracking down the Ethiopian Jews who moved to Israel” (Haaretz)
“Ethiopian Jews In Israel: 25 Years Later, A Mixed Report” (The Jewish Week)
(Image Credit: Doron Bacher, via Haaretz)