Cheqle Tadesse and his family waited

for their chance to come to Israel.

10 years

For Ethiopians who believe they have a legitimate immigration eligibility claim

In Hebrew, they are called 

or 'those who wait'.


they are told to leave their villages and come to the city of Gondar to wait.

"We farmed. We lived okay. But then we came to Gondar. It was a struggle.”

Cheqle, a farmer, had to rely on manual labor jobs.

The income was insufficient to sustain city life.

Cheqle’s brothers  in Israel sent the family money  to survive.


In Gondar, Cheqle and wife Asmera attended Sabbath prayers at the community center synagogue.

Israel does not recognize the Judaism of Ethiopians that arrived on Operation Tzur Yisrael, of which the Tadesse family was a part.

Upon arrival, these immigrants are taken to Absorption Centers spread across the country.

They are enrolled in Orthodox conversion courses.

Housing costs are deducted from their monthly immigrant benefits.

Attendance is tied to their residency status.

Though he lives in Israel now, Cheqle retains his expired residency certificate from a  subsection of Gondar.

In Amharic, his religion is listed as Jewish.

When the Tadesse family finally arrived in Israel, and reunited with their family, Cheqle says:

Cheqle and Asmera attend Hebrew language classes at the Absorption Center.

Cheqle, who fell ill 4 years ago, has only begun to regain his speech in the past year.

“I go, I never miss," says Cheqle.

"But he forgets because of his illness,” adds Asmera.

“But even in spite of that, I still go.”