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In referring to Ethiopian Jews, the term Falashas, meaning foreigners or invaders, is considered a derogatory term. They are Jews originating in separate small villages west of Lake Taana in Ethiopia. Although Christian missionaries succeeded in converting tens of thousands, almost 20,000 remained true to their faith. In 1991, Operation Solomon, a covert airlift operation, brought the large part of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel. By 1993, most Ethiopian Jews had been moved, and today no more than 100 remain in Ethiopia.

The integration of the Ethiopian population into Israeli society, however, has been slow. Many Ethiopians are plagued by poverty and a continual sense of alienation in what should be their national home. It is thought that unlike the immigrants from the former Soviet Union who were considerably more involved in socio-political affairs in their places of origin, the Ethiopian community, used to living separately, was not prepared to enter Israel’s cosmopolitan scene. Despite hardships, the Ethiopian community has produced a young generation that is wholly given to the State of Israel, of whom those who serve in the Israeli army are exceedingly dedicated soldiers. Today, many social aid efforts to help the Ethiopian community in Israel continue, and there is much hope for the future.

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