Israeli Prime Minister pays tribute to Ethiopian immigrants

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday paid tribute to the thousands of Ethiopian Jews who died making the long, dangerous journey to Israel, and vowed that he would not rest until an Israeli man of Ethiopian descent held captive by the Hamas terror group is set free.

Speaking at an annual memorial ceremony held at the Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, Netanyahu opened his address by mentioning Avera Mengistu, who has been held by Hamas for over three and a half years.

[Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meets with member of the Ethiopian Jewish community who immigrated to Israel during an annual memorial ceremony for those who died making the journey, held at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, May 13, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)]

“Distinguished guests, and most of all, our dear and beloved brothers and sisters, Ethiopian immigrants. The family of Avera Mengistu, we will not rest until we bring Avera home,” Netanyahu said.

Israel clandestinely airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the 1980s and 90s, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the community to the Jewish state and help them integrate. About 24,000 people attempted the journey via Sudan — some on donkeys and horses, some on foot — but 4,500 died on the way. Many were later flown in 1991 directly from refugee camps outside the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Israel. […] CONTINUE READING