Beta Israel

By Kendell Pinkney

(Amharic for “The House of Israel”) is the historic name for the Ethiopian Jewish community. According to oral tradition, Beta Israel traces its founding to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, both of whom they count as ancient ancestors. In more recent times, Beta Israel faced substantial discrimination in Ethiopia due to their Jewish identification. The majority of the Beta Israel community was relocated to Israel in two secretive, mass migrations (i.e. Operation Moses [1984] & Operation Solomon [1991]). The largest communities of Beta Israel now live in Israel, The United States, and Canada.