Some 4000 Zionist Ethiopians never made it from their native land to Israel. They perished in Sudan enroute to Israel and a new initiative is looking to tell their stories.
On Monday, Jerusalem Day, institutions across Israel will memorialize and commemorate the victims who tried to fulfill the Jewish dream in their aliyah from Ethiopia, in an effort to highlight a side of Zionist history that doesn’t often get told.
The Bnei Akiva youth movement is launching the “Story on the Way – Our Collective Story” initiative in its branches across the country.
“The story of Ethiopian Jewry is an essential part of the story of Zionism and the history of the Jewish people,” said Yair Shachal, secretary-general of Bnei Akiva.
The program will facilitate communal meetings between Ethiopian Jews, who will tell the story of their communities, of their aliyah, and of their experiences living in Israel.
Local youth will come to hear their tales.
The struggle to properly integrate Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society, while confronting the racism that sits behind these challenges, is one that Israeli society continues to face today.
Last week, ITIM, an advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit at a regional labor court on behalf of an Ethiopian-Israeli mikveh (ritual bath) attendant discriminated against by a municipal rabbi. The rabbi directly challenged her Jewish identity, and urged other women not to use her services because of her Ethiopian ethnicity.
“This initiative is trying to connect the Israeli public to the heroic story of the [Ethiopian] journey to Israel, and to tell the story of the Ethiopian community and show how it folds into Israeli society today.
The movement was started by a Bnei Akiva alum, attorney David Abate.
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Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
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