The story of the Beta Israel’s return to the Land of Israel is one of broken promises, secret agreements, and the tenacity of an ancient community in the face of unimaginable danger. While the origin story of Ethiopian Jews remains unclear, their courage, faith, and love for the Jewish homeland, along with the daring of the Mossad and the activism of North American Jews, resulted in the return of thousands of Jews to Israel.
00:48 Origin stories of the Ethiopian Jews
01:34 Ethiopian Jewish beliefs and rituals
01:49 Christian persecution of Beta Israel
03:09 Ethiopian Jewish delegation walks to Israel
04:27 Joseph Halevy visits Ethiopia
06:06 Ben Gurion and diplomacy with Ethiopia
06:17 Ethiopian Jews begin escaping to Israel
07:36 Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s declaration
08:04 Persecution of Ethiopian Jews
08:51 Activist Ferede Aklum and Mossad hatch a plan
09:46 The Beta Israel trek to Sudan
10:16 Mossad’s abandoned resort operation
11:43 8,000 Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel by air
12:12 Ethiopian Israelis successfully pressure government
12:42 Beta Israel’s contribution to the story
13:36 Reflections on Israeli society
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Image and footage credits:
AAEJ Archives Online
The Faitlovitch Collection, Sourasky Central Library, Tel Aviv University, Israel
David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries
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— Shmuel Katz
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