The study reportedly shows that a few Jews started the Ethiopian community thousands of years ago, that they married local women (as was the Biblical practice), that they are a distinct population that did not have much intermarriage with non-Jews, and that sociologists who claimed the community came from Ethiopian Christians who "Judaized" approximately 500 years ago were wrong.…The Jews of Ethiopia are so [genetically] distantly related to other Jews that their community must have been founded by only a few itinerants who converted local people to Judaism and then married within the local population.The Israelis had taken all of the equipment out of the aircraft and covered the deck and sides with sheets of black, polyethylene plastic.The aircraft was jam packed with Ethiopian men, women, and children.It also suggests the founding was more than 2,000 years ago.That antiquity helps explain why Ethiopian Jews airlifted to Israel during "Operation Moses" in 1984 had no idea about the holiday of Hanukkah, which commemorates events of the second century BC--long after their ancestors had left Israel.…One day in the spring of 1993, I received an urgent phone call to go quickly to Ben Gurion International Airport.
Like the Ethiopian Jews, this population was founded 2,000 y ago and was thought to be comprised mostly of local proselytes, which is reflected in the distinctive clustering of the population away from other Jewish groups and the mostly Middle Eastern ancestry present in this group.
The smell that came out of the aircraft after that long, long flight with no toilets was rather overpowering.
However, it was a tremendously emotional occasion for all who were there.
They had lived in rural areas of Ethiopia for many centuries, cut off and isolated from other centers of Judaism. He was a very sophisticated and highly educated and articulate negotiator.
Some had been quietly evacuated from Ethiopia clandestinely by Jewish agencies and resettled in Israel. Lubrani called me in to see him in his office at the Israeli Ministry of Defense.