Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and the Jewish Agency for Israel just welcomed 119 Ethiopian immigrants who will begin their new life in Israel.

Upon their arrival on May 21, the new immigrants were greeted by Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog and newly minted Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata, who noted that the new olim “have been waiting a long time to fulfill the dream of aliyah. Now they’ve made it home, and I’m extremely moved.”

She added that officials have been assisting them on all fronts as they start to build their life in Israel.

The date of their arrival coincides with both the annual Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel and Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), which marks the unification of Israel’s capital, a city that holds a special place in the heart of Jewish Ethiopians.

“We will remember the thousands who dreamed of Jerusalem and perished along the way, and are working tirelessly to facilitate aliyah for members of the community who are still waiting to fulfill the dream of moving to Israel,” said Herzog.

Another 111 new immigrants arrived this week from Ukraine and 41 from Russia.

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration have prepared themselves for a wave of aliyah resulting from the coronavirus global pandemic.

Given the continued monitoring of the virus, those who arrived have immediately gone into quarantine and will adhere to Ministry of Health regulations. They flew to Israel on a specially chartered aircraft, also because of COVID-19 restrictions.

This is the second cohort of Ethiopian immigrants who arrived amid the pandemic, with 72 arriving in March and settling in absorption centers in the country’s north and south.

Their arrival was made possible by support from the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and other friends of Israel from around the world.

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