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On Wings of Eagles: The Secret Operation of the Ethiopian Exodus [Kindle Edition]

MIcha Feldman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Told through diary entries interspersed with the stories of many Ethiopian Jews in their own words, this is the gripping account of the Jewish Agency s coordinator of Ethiopian aliyah as he worked over a decade to free the Beta Israel from shocking conditions. With Ethiopia overrun by rebels, the Jews had left their villages in northern Ethiopia by the thousands to trek for weeks to the Sudan. There, in squalid refugee camps, untold numbers died of disease and malnutrition. Those left alive were motivated only by the desire to return to Zion. Starving, preyed-upon, and often separated from their families in heartbreaking ways, the refugees also faced stark cultural adjustments in Israel. When Israel was able to open an embassy in Ethiopia in January 1990, the author went to Addis Ababa, where his crowning achievement as the Jewish Agency s representative and Israeli consul was overseeing the immigration of over fourteen thousand Jews from the besieged city in the dramatic two-day Operation Solomon in May 1991. This modern-day Exodus story is a heartwarming tale of the love of one man for Ethiopian Jewry as he devoted himself to their struggle to go up to Jerusalem.

Editorial Reviews


Micha Feldmann draws on his extensive knowledge of Ethiopian Jewish culture and language for this journalized account of his experience with the Ethiopian immigration to Israel. Feldman, who is the director of Selah, an Israeli organization that assists immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, worked on the immigration project from its start in the late 1970s until its culmination in 1991.

The culture of the Ethiopian Jews is a mystery to many, as most mainstream Jewish history texts make little mention of it. In a text that is appropriate for both the novice as well as the expert, Feldman explains with sensitivity such distinctive religious customs as the holiday of Sigd and the separation hut to the unknowing reader.

The customs and culture of the Ethiopian Jews, or Beta Israel as they are often called, may seem foreign to many readers, but they are an integral part of Jewish history. Feldman seems to feel the same way based on the awe and reverence with which he describes his African-Jewish brethren. This attitude is inspiring and long past due, as the Ethiopian Jews struggled to be recognized as legitimate Jews according to Jewish law for quite some time both in Israel and abroad.

Readers will become more familiar with an ancient Jewish tribe that survived for thousands of years in isolation and never lost its desire to immigrate to their ancestral homeland. --Brandon Stern,

About the Author

Micha Feldmann has worked for the Jewish Agency and other organizations on immigration and absorption since 1970. He currently serves as the director of the Ethiopian department within SELAH Israel Crisis Management Center, an organization that helps Israeli immigrants from Ethiopia and the FSU.

Product Details

  • File Size: 771 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 9652295698
  • Publisher: Gefen Publishing House (March 5, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007HPGD0M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,040 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Yes, in 1991, 16,000 plus Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in less than 24 hours. But it took a much greater investment of time and caring to make it happen. Read the words of the diary of the man who made it happen. The man who can tell you about the lives, past and present, of all he aided. The man known as Abba Micha to thousands of Ethiopian Jews.

I read the book and then had the honor of listening to the same story by Abba Micha on the very grounds in Addis Ababa where it all happened. It was like listening to George Washington tell you what happened at Valley Forge. The book should give you the same thrill.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Part thrilling adventure tale, part love-letter to the Ethiopian Jewish community, this first-person account of the Ethiopian Jews' exodus to Israel is one of the most compelling books I have ever read. It is fascinating, informative, and inspiring. What an extraordinary story, written by an outstanding individual -- Micha Feldmann. Read it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a diary which relates to the discovery of an ancient Jewish community living in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia. The sect was called Beta Israel-House of Israel and it practised Jewish rituals according to Old Testament Scripture.

The author describes the love and devotion of these people in their prayers for Israel and their yearning to live in Jerusalem.

The discovery led to an exodus of whole families on the "Wings of Eagles" which was a clandestine operation by the Israeli Navy and Airforce to bring the community to Israel.

Changes in the regime and the hostility of neighbouring countries closed the doors to emigration, and an exodus of several weeks became a nightmare of some ten years.

The author provides an excellent summary of the origin of the community in his introduction and qualifies his work by focussing attention on their trials and tribulations. He describes their suffering, sickness, hunger, even death, during their peregrinations.

This is a work depicting an unbelievable saga of rescue and relief, of fulfilling a people's aspirations to live in the Holy Land and were prepared to undergo challenges to life and limb in order to achief their goal.

Equally it is a compelling story of Israeli authorities, both governmental and voluntary in their efforts to reunite members of families when some of them were lost in transit through rape and robbery in almost a decade of detention camps and desert wandering.

Personal interviews with the travelers makes their experiences a living lesson to be nurtured.

The work is highly recommended to lovers of history, adventure, and fellow feeling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My hero February 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Micha Feldman is a remarkable man.....dedicated, strong, kind and so very wise . As such, his story is a remarkable read from start to finish The book has an ending, but Micha's life work is far from over.
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