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OpenDor Media Film to Tell the Dramatic Story of Operation Solomon

OpenDor Media, and the Ethiopian National Project are excited to announce the production of Exodus 1991. This feature-length film tells the true story of Operation Solomon, the mission that brought over 14,000 Jews from Ethiopia to Israel in 1991.

Following rumors of an airlift to Israel and with the encouragement of Jewish activists and organizations, members of Ethiopia’s ancient Jewish community made the dangerous journey to the capital city, Addis Ababa. Instead of finding freedom, they found themselves held hostage by opportunistic government forces who demanded money and weapons from the Israelis.

As Ethiopia was being torn apart by civil war, Israel and the U.S. began negotiating with the ruthless dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, for the Jews’ release. After Mengistu fled the country, Israel bought the freedom of the Jews from the new Ethiopian government using money raised mainly by the U.S. Jewish community. 

They had to move quickly. Under incredible pressure, and with rebel forces surrounding the capital, over 14,000 souls were flown to Israel in just 36 hours — one of the largest airlifts in history.

But that mythical journey is just the beginning of the story. 

While “Exodus 1991” proudly highlights the incredible return of the Jews of Ethiopia to the Promised Land, it also takes an unflinching look at the struggles the Ethiopian Israeli community has faced over the past three decades and explores crucial questions of integration and equality in Israeli society. 

“As an organization and as filmmakers, we believe in recognizing that complexity is what makes us stronger and more informed,” said Micah Smith, the film’s director.

Exodus 1991 is an honest look at everything we have to be proud of, but it also uncovers the challenges the Ethiopian Israeli community has faced over the past three decades. The film recognizes how much there is to celebrate in Operation Solomon, and how Jews from all over the world, especially America, helped to advance the airlift. However, the film also acknowledges Israel’s imperfections with an awareness that the work of Operation Solomon didn’t end on the tarmac 30 years ago.”

Exodus 1991 is expected to be completed by July 2021. Early access to the film and accompanying educational materials will be granted to select educational institutions. Distribution to film festivals will begin in 2021. Proceeds from the film will support ENP programs for Ethiopian-Israeli youth and further work from non-profit OpenDor Media. 

Photograph by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for MDBR Productions
Photograph by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for MDBR Productions
Photograph by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for MDBR Productions
Photograph by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for MDBR Productions

About OpenDor Media

OpenDor Media has been the leading creator of Jewish media content since 2009. It brings Jewish ideas, values and stories to life, delivering them to a global audience of millions using today’s most popular and far-reaching digital platforms. We invite you to visit opendormedia.org

About the Ethiopian National Project (ENP)

ENP works to ensure the full and successful integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society, in a unique and special partnership with global supporters, the Government of Israel and the Ethiopian-Israeli community itself.

Press inquiries

If you’re a member of the media and would like to get in touch, please send us a note. skatz@opendormedia.org

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