1991 – Operation Solomon

By Georgie Friend (Bogeret and Madricha)

Ethiopia has long been home to small Jewish population, known as the Beta Yisrael. In 1991, Ethiopia began to destabilise as the Soviet Union relinquished control of the area. This left the country at the mercy of various rebel groups vying for control, which left Israel concerned about the safety of the Beta Yisrael. Feeling a duty to protect the Jewish people, no matter where they came from, the Israeli government sent 35 planes to transport over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews into Israel to start a new life. The operation was so large scale that the seats had to be stripped out of the planes in order to fit as many passengers as possible. The number of Ethiopian citizens involved in Operation Solomon grew in the 36 hours it took, as several pregnant women gave birth on plane.