Of the 10 thousand Ethiopian Jews who have been waiting in Gondar and Addis Ababa to make aliya for over 15 years, 2000 arrived to Israel on flights before the end 2020 as part of Operation Rock of Israel. With COVID-19 sweeping Ethiopia and a threat of civil war looming, it was more crucial than ever to facilitate their long-awaited aliya to Israel.
Arriving in a new country is never easy, and to do so during a global pandemic adds even more stress and difficulty to the acclimation process. Participants from branches of Dror Israel’s youth movement around the country gathered during Hanukkah to assemble welcome packages for the new arrivals.
The youth learned about the story of the Ethiopian Jews and about the current operation helping them to make Aliyah. They thought about what they could do to welcome the families and help make the transition a little more cheerful during such complicated times. They especially thought about the experience of the children and came up with ideas for a welcome gift.
They wrote cards in Hebrew and Amharic, drew pictures and packed games and snacks as a welcome package for the families’ arrival. They packed over 500 packages to be delivered to the families as a gesture to welcome them home and to help make their arrival and acclimation to the country a bit brighter.
They decided that they wanted to deliver the presents in person to absorption and quarantine centers around the country as the families finished their mandatory two-week quarantine. The teens travelled to the centers in Beer Sheva, Nahariya, Tzfat and Ibim to bring the presents to the families and to pass along their warm wishes for an easy transition to life in Israel.