“The Jews of Ethiopia earned their right to immigrate to Israel and settle in this country through intense suffering.” Thus wrote former Chairman of the Knesset Shlomo Hillel in the dedication for the book Chalom Bein Soragim (A Dream Between Bars), which focuses on Ethiopian Prisoners of Zion. Between 1979-1990, tens of thousands of Jews tried to immigrate to Israel via Sudan, but many of them did not survive the difficult conditions on the way and the refugee camps in Sudan. The estimate is that between these years, approximately 16,000 people reached Israel, while about 4,000 perished on the way (to date, records exist of 1,620 names of fallen persons, which are etched at the memorial site on Mount Herzl). Each of the thousands of fallen persons has a name and a family who never saw them again. The fallen did not reach the soil of the land of Israel, for which they dedicated all of their energy and their lives. They dreamed of Jerusalem, and as they pursued their dream, they paid the heaviest possible price. We will remember all of those fallen heroes who gave their lives to reach Jerusalem, showing all of us what it means to be a Zionist and love your homeland.
May their memories be blessed.