ADDIS ABABA – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he spoke with Ethiopian leader Abiy Ahmed on Friday, informing him of his plans to airlift 2,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
“I updated Prime Minister Abiy that I intend to immediately bring some 2,000 people from Addis Ababa and Gondar, as part of our commitment to continuing the Aliyah of Jews to Israel,” Netanyahu tweeted.
Netanyahu said Abiy replied that there was no impediment to the move and that it “symbolizes the special relationship between the peoples.”
During their discussion, Netanyahu said, Abiy congratulated him on the recent normalization deals signed between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, and the two also discussed deepening Israel’s agricultural assistance to Ethiopia.
About 140,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel today, a small minority in a country of nearly 9 million. Some 22,000 were airlifted to Israel during Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1991, mostly from the Beta Israel community.
Prime Minister Abiy later he had a good phone conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister and was focused on “strengthening Ethiopia-Israel ties and cooperation on agriculture”.
“Among many topics we also discussed on regional issues of mutual interest,” he said in a twitted message after the phone conversation.
FEATURED IMAGE: Prime Minister Abiy (L) Netanyah (R) shakes hands with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem on September 1, 2019. (Photo Amos Ben Gershom/PMO)