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Operation Solomon – Aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry (1991)

Following a regime change in Ethiopia in 1991, the new government agreed, for a sum of 40 million dollars, to permit the remaining Jews of Ethiopia to make aliyah.  During “Operation Solomon” which lasted less than 48 hours, 14,000 persons were brought to Israel.

 

Primary Motivations

 

The renewal of relations between Israel and Ethiopia in 1989, together with fears of violence towards the Jews, brought together the State of Israel and American Jews in joint efforts to rescue the Jews of Ethiopia.   A great deal of money exchanged hands in order to secure permission for Operation Solomon, which was named after King Solomon and his relationship to the Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia).

 

The Immigrants and Their Journey 

In 1989, Jews that already had parts of their family in Israel began to make aliyah. Others, upon hearing that aliyah was being renewed, began to make their way to the Israeli consulate in order to request to make aliyah.   When anti-government opposition forces began to occupy large parts of the country, encroaching upon the capital of Addis Ababa, fears began to mount for the safety of the Jews.  On Friday, May 24, 1991, within 36 hours, 14,000 Jews boarded El Al planes, and on May 25 the last immigrants arrived in Israel. Once in Israel, many of the new immigrants were reunited with their families after many years.   A total of 35,000 Ethiopian Jews have made aliyah.

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