Since the establishment of modern Israel in 1948, Ethiopia has been a good friend and an ally of Israel.  Ethiopians and Jews have a connection that existed before the creation of the state of Israel, we are after all part Kush and part Semite and trace our lineage to the son of Queen Sheba and King Solomon by the name of Menelik I. There is a reason the Ethiopian crown, the oldest in the world, is called the Solomonic Line and why Ethiopian monarchs have been called the Lions of Judah. Ethiopia and Israel are inseparable, that is why the Ark of the Covenant was sent from Israel to Ethiopia—between our two nations is a path to Zion.

Israel, on her part, has been very good to Ethiopia. Even though Israel was going through a period of conflict and regional upheaval, Jewish people supported Ethiopia and Emperor Haile Selassie in the areas of military and police training, surveillance, construction of hotels and roads, intelligence gathering and mitigating Marxist infiltration. Many of our families and friends were trained Israel and learned from elite thinkers and visionary thinkers in Tel Aviv and beyond.

In 1973, the Emperor was given bad advice and counseled to evict Israel out of Ethiopia during a time of Middle East tumult. Consequently, a lot of Israelis were expelled and the special relationship that Ethiopia enjoyed with Israel took a big hit. History proves over and over again that collective punishment is unjust; within a year of Israel’s eviction, Marxist radicals toppled Haile Selassie and instilled a red terror upon Ethiopia.

Most of the officials in Haile Selassie government, who voted to expel Israel, were killed by Marxists as the Derg movement swept into power. Over 500,000 Ethiopians were murdered by Mengistu Hailemariam and his thugs after they committed a coup d’etat against Haile Selassie. Shortly after they deposed the last king of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie died under suspicious circumstances while he was in custody of the Derg junta .

In 1984, ten years after the dark and deadly revolution that plunged Ethiopia into the abyss of Communist nihilism, Israel airlifted 8,000 Ethiopian Jews from Sudan via Brussels under the auspices of operation Moses. This was a covert operation as Sudan would not publicly allow Jewish people to be airlifted from Khartoum.

In 1991, Israel again airlifted 14,324 Ethiopian Jews out of Addis Ababa under the auspices of Operation Solomon while the TPLF was preparing to topple the Derg government . Israel paid $26 Million to Ethiopian dictator Menegestu Hailemarim to be allowed to land at Bole Addis Ababa Airport and to help Ethiopian Jews escape the clutches of repression and to be given a new lease on life in Israel.

Ever since Ethiopians  arrived in Israel, there have been many stories of success like electing three Ethiopian members of Parliament (Knesset) , graduating many ace pilots from the prestigious Israel Airforce Academy and Ethiopian Jews have become an integral part of the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Many have become teachers and scientists and respected members of Israeli society. Israel, for the most part, has been very kind and generous with the resettlement process.

For some new Ethiopian immigrants, the adjustment to a new  life in Israel was hard and traumatic. Leaving all that you know behind and traveling to new lands is never an easy experience; some of our people in Israel have had to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers in an attempt to integrate successfully. This process has given birth to a whole host of issues from loneliness, depression and anxiety. There is also a generational gap that is forming between the younger generation and their parents. While the youth are quickly able to adapt, the older generation is finding difficult to fit in.

Ethiopians in Israel are a vibrant community who are valuable contributors of society, their concerns and voices must be heard.

Last Saturday, the shooting of Ethiopian-Israeli became the source of social friction and riots in Jerusalem. While a full accounting of the incident is an imperative, we ask the Israeli government to ensure the safety and security of Ethiopians and for the concerns of Beta Israel to be fully heard and addressed. Steps must be taken to stop marginalizing Ethiopians in Israel; unacceptable practices of banning blood donations from Ethiopians and treating Ethiopians like second class citizens must come to an end.

We also ask of our Ethiopian brothers and sisters in Israel to not let your passions get so heated that you resort to unreasonable tactics. Riots and violence do nothing but beget more bloodshed and suffering. We are a people who are lawful, industrious and honors hard work; if we are to demand respect from others, we must carry ourselves with respect and dignity at all times. This is especially true in times of turbulence; we must draw on the reserves of unity and love our ancestors reached for centuries in order to overcome injustice and hardship.

Let us restore the biblical connection that Ethiopia has with Israel and likewise let peace and love be the basis of our relationship going forward. Jewish people are kind and loving people; in Ethiopia, Israel and beyond, Jews are an integral part of society and vital contributors of society. Where we have our differences, let us settle them not through anger and vindictiveness but through compassion and understanding. As both the Torah and the New Testament teaches us, we must let love towards others be our moral compass. It is through grace that we will one day reach Zion.

Israeli firefighters rushed to the side of Ethiopia to help put out the fire in Gondar, Ethiopia.

I want to thank this missive by thanking Israel firefighters, many of whom were Ethiopians, for traveling to the majestic mountains of Gondar to put out a raging fire that was threatening the home of one of Ethiopia’s greatest Kings and a Solomonic Emperor by the name of Atse Tewodros II. The chair of Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy, Lij Teodrose Fikremariam, is a direct descendant of Atse Tewodros II and he too is grateful for the people of Israel for rushing to the side of Ethiopia on multiple occasions.

May shalom be our destiny and may grace guide in our journeys. #Ethiopia #Israel #ShalomEthiopia Click To Tweet

Watch this special video that gives homage to Ethiopians at home and in Israel and shows how all three major faiths are interconnected.