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Members of the Falash Mura Jewish Ethiopian community attend a prayer service at the HaTikvah Synagogue in Gondar, northern Ethiopia, September 30, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

A group of Ethiopian Falash Mura arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday, the first group in a new wave of aliyah (immigration to Israel).

The 72 new Jewish immigrants arrived in the Jewish state as part of a collaborative effort between the Jewish Agency for Israel and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).

More than 200 families and supporters greeted the new immigrants at the airport.

Another three immigrant flights from Ethiopia are expected to arrive in Israel this month.

Tuesday night's flight marked the first group of Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia to arrive in Israel since the Israeli government approved and renewed the Ethiopian Aliyah program in October 2016.

ICEJ, a Christian Zionist global ministry, sponsored the latest Ethiopian immigration wave to Israel and has worked to raise funds for the first year of the reintroduced Ethiopian Aliyah program, which will bring 1,400 new immigrants to the Jewish state.

Falash Mura is the name given to those of the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia and Eritrea who converted to Christianity under pressure from the Christian Mission during the 19th and 20th centuries. The establishment of the Jewish state and the waves of aliyah from Ethiopia have brought them back to their roots and heritage.

In 2003, the Israeli government applied Resolution 2958 to the Falash Mura, which grants maternal descendants of Jews the right to immigrate to Israel under the Israeli Law of Return and to obtain citizenship if they convert to Judaism.

Some 9,000 Jews still reside in Ethiopia and are waiting Israeli government approval to make aliyah.

Also Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his wife to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.

"The Ethiopian community, Mr. Prime Minister, is a human bridge between our two nations," Netanyahu said.

This article originally appeared at unitedwithisrael.org.

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