Now That the Eagle Has Landed, Israel Must Absorb the Ethiopians

Once the 40 flights of Operation Solomon had landed at Ben-Gurion Airport, the long and daunting process of absorbing the 14,087 Ethiopian Jews began.

Some 300 buses operated by the Jewish Agency for Israel transported the new immigrants directly to 45 hotels, guest houses and mobile homes throughout the country.

About 3,200 olim were directed to the south, some to Ashkelon and Eilat, most to mobile homes set up by the Jewish National Fund at various sites in the Negev, including kibbutzim and mo-shavim. Other immigrants were taken to facilities in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Nahariya and Haifa.

About two-thirds of the immigrants are children under the age of 18, and some of them will go to institutions operated by the Youth Aliyah Department of the Jewish Agency.

Those organizations are able to accommodate as many as 2,000 of the newly arrived children, who will join the 3,400 Ethiopians already there.

Arnon Mantver, director general of the Jewish Agency’s Immigration and Absorption Department, predicted that the Ethiopians’ absorption will be difficult.

One of the primary problems facing the new immigrants is locating family members who arrived in Israel in either the earlier Operation Moses airlift or on flights since then.

The Israel Broadcasting authority, which began operating a special new-immigrants radio station Sunday, broadcast special programs in Amharic, the language of the Ethiopians.

The names of all of Operation Solomon’s newcomers were announced, with details of where they had been taken.

Some families had been divided as they arrived in Israel at different times. Social workers and government officials were kept busy Sunday trying to bring together the divided families.

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