JERUSALEM (JTA) — A memorial service was held for the some 4,000 Jewish Ethiopians who died making their way to Israel.
The annual state service was held Wednesday near a memorial erected on Mount Herzl by the Absorption and Immigration Ministry in memory of those who died during the trek to the Jewish state.
Speakers included family members of those who died, as well as Israeli President Shimon Peres and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver.
"This journey is the closest to the story of the exodus from Egypt," Landver said at the ceremony. "The price of the exodus from Ethiopia was especially high. I do not ignore the problems, but many members of the community, who not too many years ago were immigrants themselves, became the ones to absorb immigrants.
Landver said Israel’s aliyah operation has yet to be completed and that she will soon fly to Ethiopia in an effort to expedite their arrival.
"Some of the Jews of Ethiopia are still held in camps under very difficult conditions," she said.