At the outbreak of the war in Ethiopia

Filmon sent his wife and 2 daughters to the central Tigray region thinking it was safer.

Filmon received word about a clandestine flight to bring Jews from Tigray to Israel

but his family was too far from the Mossad-organized rally point.

Filmon was just across the border from Sudan where the plane would depart.

Only 60 people made the perilous journey to reach that flight

including Filmon.

His wife and daughters were stuck in Tigray.

But, it's been 30 YEARS in the making.

“As far as we know, there are no Jewish populations in Ethiopia.”

“there could be a [Jewish] family here or a family there”.

In August 2022, the Jewish Agency’s former spokesman and current Head of International Relations, Yigal Palmor, said: 

before conceding:

Ethiopian Israelis, with family still in Ethiopia, strongly disagree with the Jewish Agency's position 

and are fighting for Israel to allow their families to reunite.

Tel Aviv Airport

When the 60 Tigrayans arrived in Israel, post-COVID quarantine, they were taken to an Absorption Center in the remote north east of the country.

Beit Alfa

Filmon recalls not being provided with much, and having to start life over from zero. 

Tigrayan Israelis brought clothes,  food and shoes to  the center for the new immigrants.

Beit Alfa Absorption Center

Since arriving in Israel, the Jewishness of the Tigrayans has been challenged at a governmental level, in the media, and in public demonstrations.

Operation Tzur Yisrael arrival ceremony, 2022

As with all Ethiopians on Operation Tzur Yisrael, Filmon is obligated to attend Orthodox conversion courses.

*All new immigrants receive temporary financial benefits.

"I don't understand how we are meant to pay for food while we are studying.

The studies continue but they stopped the payments.

What they are saying is that we have to work to eat.

When are we going to study, and when are we going to work? It is very difficult."

August 2022

How does it feel to be told you're not Jewish?