(JNS.org) Approximately 240 new immigrants arrived at Israel’s David Ben-Gurion airport on Monday as part of a final effort to bring the remainder of Ethiopia’s Jewish community to Israel.
Dubbed “Operation Dove’s Wings,” Monday’s arrival is the first in a series of monthly flights carrying Ethiopia’s Falash Mura—some of the last remaining Jews in the country—that is expected to last until October 2013.
The immigrants will be greeted by a host of dignitaries, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky.
The immigrants are expected to be temporarily housed at the Jewish Agency’s Ibim Absorption Center in the Negev, which can hold up to 600 people at a time.
The Falash Mura Jews descend from Ethiopian Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their status as Jews under Israel’s Law of Return was a matter of controversy until a 2003 Israeli government ruling that accepted their eligibility.