August 10, 2023

Emergency Operation Is Rescuing Jews from Ethiopia

Dov Ben-Shimon Federation CEO

We have all been following the events in Ethiopia the past few days with great concern as violent clashes continue between the Ethiopian Army and the FANO militia in the Amhara province. Our partners on the ground, especially the Jewish Agency, are closely monitoring the developing and uncertain situation as they work to ensure the safety of our staff and beneficiaries on the ground. This briefing comes courtesy of our Federation partner the Jewish Agency. This afternoon three planes took off from Gondar to Addis Ababa, carrying more than 150 passengers, including Israeli citizens who had visited the area, Jewish Agency staff and participants, and around 50 Aliyah-eligible Ethiopians. This operation was organized by the Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with The Jewish Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israeli Embassy in Ethiopia, the National Security Council, and the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption. Over the past few days Jewish Agency Chief Program Officer & COO Yehuda Setton has led the organization’s emergency roundtable, convening daily discussions internally and with our government partners. This allowed them to effectively coordinate and execute the complex rescue operation. The operation from Gondar to Addis Ababa was led by Jewish Agency security officer, Mamush Marsha, together with a representative of the Israeli embassy and The Jewish Agency’s security department. The Agency’s Chief Security Officer, Yuval David, and the Situation Room have been working around the clock to coordinate the logistics with all of our security officers and partners. Jewish Agency personnel will later proceed to Israel. Those eligible for Aliyah will be taken care of by The Jewish Agency’s team in Addis Ababa, led by Adana Tadela in cooperation with the Israeli embassy in Ethiopia. They will support these individuals with great care until the necessary procedures are finalized and they board their flight to Israel. In addition, Project TEN volunteers have unanimously decided to stay in Addis Ababa with the group and continue volunteering their time to assist with what is needed. Our Jewish Federation’s UJA Annual Campaign helps ensure that the work of the Jewish Agency, and our partners around the world, are ready at a moment’s notice, to rescue Jews in need, bring them to safety, and fulfill our mission. I’m deeply proud that we remain committed to making sure that no Jew is left behind anywhere. Ever. We pray for an end to the fighting and a return to safety for the entire Ethiopian people.