By: John Roberts
The last of the Ethiopian Jews, a community that traces its ancestry to biblical times, arrived in Israel on Monday, capping a decades-long saga that brought tens of thousands of immigrants from Ethiopia to the Jewish homeland.
About 450 immigrants flew on two charter flights organized by the Jewish Agency as part of “Operation Wings of Dove”, which was launched by the Israeli government three years ago.
The group originated in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar, the heart of the Jewish community of Ethiopia. The Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said: “Jews lived in Gondar for 2,500 years. Nevertheless, their desire to return home never weakened.”
In preparation for the final flight, the Jewish Agency delivered the keys of the Jewish community center to the Gondar city mayor. The community also donated all buildings and school equipment to the municipality. The school has helped educate more than 2,500 Jewish students.
At a ceremony marking the turnover of the school, Sharansky said: “Today we bring to a close a journey that spans thousands of years. The conclusion of the operation Wings of a Dove.”