"I have no idea where my mother is buried. Now I will be able to unite with her memory and the memory of my brother," Yaakov Gonchel, 29, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 1982, said Wednesday.
More than two decades after a large wave of immigration from Ethiopia arrived in Israel, a memorial commemorating the 4,000 members of the community who perished on the long journey to the holy land was finally inaugurated in Jerusalem.
The memorial was erected with the help of the Immigration and Absorption Ministry.
"This took many years, during which many people have not had a proper opportunity to mourn," Gonchel explained.
The mass departure of Ethiopian Jews from their country as part of the "Moshe Operation" began in 1983, when thousands started moving clandestinely towards the Sudanese border. During their journey and stay in temporary camps in Sudan they endured murders, rapes, diseases, robberies and hunger.
Some 8,000 were flown from Sudan to Israel in the framework of the "Moshe Operation".
Uri Rada, chairman of the Ethiopian Jews Remembrance Fund, who lost his mother on the journey to Israel, told Ynet: "This was a kind of
holocaust for the Ethiopian community. Most of us don't talk about it to this day, because this is a very emotionally charged subject for the community."
According to Rada, the difficult state of the community today is a direct result of the trauma they have undergone. "The community has been given no psychological therapy or family rehabilitation, and this has social consequences until now," he stated.