Ethiopian Family Reunification | The Jewish Agency - U.S.Ethiopian Family Reunification

Ethiopian Aliyah and Family Reunification

Reuniting Jewish Ethiopian Families in Israel

Ethiopian Family Reunification

For more than 50 years, The Jewish Agency, along with our partners, The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Keren Hayesod, has assisted over
95,000 Ethiopian Jews in their journey to Israel.
But our job is not yet done; there are still thousands waiting to come to the Jewish State and be reunited with family members.

Operation Zur Israel

In September 2020, the Government of Israel approved the Aliyah of 2,000 members of the Ethiopian Jewish community to arrive in Israel by early 2021.

With the launch of Operation Zur Israel, which kicked off in earnest in December 2020, Ethiopian families were reunited in Israel after more than a decade of separation. The operation was completed in March 2021. Thank you to our partners, JFNA and Keren Hayesod, and donors around the world whose support made this incredible Aliyah operation possible.

In November 2021, the Israeli government announced its decision to approve the continuation of Operation Zur Israel, which began in 2022 and will bring thousands more Ethiopian Jews home to Israel.

“With the renewal of Operation Zur Israel, thousands of new immigrants from Ethiopia will be able to fulfill their dream and unite with their relatives in Israel after many years of waiting,” said Jewish Agency Acting Chairman of the Executive Yaakov Hagoel. “The Jewish Agency will assist the new immigrants in the process of Aliyah and with their integration in absorption centers throughout the country, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. It is our responsibility to help them as they take their first steps in Israel.”

The first group of Ethiopian immigrants arrived in Israel on June 1, 2022, on a special flight chartered by The Jewish Agency, which is coordinating with Israel’s government to reunite 3,000 Ethiopians with their families during the coming months. Read more >

Photographer: Dudi Salem
Photographer: Dudi Salem

Operation Zur Israel II: Live from the Tarmac

On June 1, 2022, 180 Ethiopian immigrants landed at Ben Gurion airport in Israel, fulfilling a lifelong dream and reuniting with loved ones. Watch>

STORIES FROM OPERATION ZUR ISRAEL II
  • After waiting 12 years to make Aliyah, and enduring many challenges as Jews in Gondar, Worknesh and her family will finally reunite with her mother and brother in Israel.

    Worknesh's Story
  • After 25 years of waiting to make Aliyah, Techelo will reunite with his father and brothers in Israel after two decades of separation, with his wife and young children by his side.

    Techelo's story
  • Nineteen years ago, Azanu's elderly mother got approval to make Aliyah; Azanu has been waiting to reunite with her, which has been hard on both of them. Soon, they will finally be together again.

    Azanu's story
  • After 20 years of separation, the Tigabu Takele sisters, Workenesh and Atakilt, will reunite with their parents and siblings in Israel, uniting all their families together in the Jewish state.

Operation Zur Israel II: Immigrant Stories With Operation Zur Israel continuing in 2022, thousands more Ethiopian Jews will be brought to Israel to fulfill their dreams of Aliyah and reunite with loved ones. Get to know some of the amazing Ethiopians who will make Aliyah imminently.

MORE STORIES OF ETHIOPIAN JEWISH IMMIGRANTS:
  • Ephrem, 21, made Aliyah to Israel from Ethiopia in March 2020 with nine family members. For as long as he could remember, his family prayed for the day they would move to Israel, where Ephrem’s other relatives already lived.

    Ephrem's Story
  • When they were young girls, sisters Liya and Ester made a promise that they would forever stay close to each other. Today, these sisters, once inseparable, have not seen each other in 11 years.

    Liya's Story
  • After losing her mother at age six, Fentanesh Gasasa helped raise her younger sister in Ethiopia before they made Aliyah. At 17, she continued looking after her sister in Israel while applying herself to her studies.

    Fentanesh's Story
  • Vadia and her children made Aliyah from Ethiopia in 2006 but Vadia’s father, Zigala, had to stay behind. For 13 years, Vadia was separated from her father and could only see him in a framed photo in her home in Israel.

Recent Ethiopian Aliyah Coverage

An Unbelievable Journey: Benny Goshen came to Israel from Ethiopia in 1989 at the age of five and a half, after a long and dangerous trek through the desert to the Sudanese border. Discover Benny’s incredible story >

Reunited at Last: Yaliganesh Addis moved to Gondar, Ethiopia, with her parents and seven siblings to wait for approval from the Israeli government to make Aliyah. After a decade, the approvals started coming and many of the Addises were able to make Aliyah. Soon all the Addises had been able to move to Israel except Yaliganesh. She was left behind, along with her husband and children in Ethiopia, to continue waiting. In late 2020, the Israeli Government finally approved Yaliganesh and her family’s Aliyah application, through Operation Zur Israel. “I have been longing for this moment for 10 years,” said Kefale Addis, Yaliganesh’s little brother. “We never thought we would be separated and that Yaliganesh would be left to suffer in Ethiopia alone all this time.” Finally, the Addis family reunited in Israel, never to be separated again — meet them in the video below.

Zoog Productions for The Jewish Agency for Israel
Zoog Productions for The Jewish Agency for Israel

The incredible Addis family: hear their story