Government approves immigration of thousands of Ethiopian Jews

November 28, 2021
Plan aims to complete implementation of 2015 decision to bring over 9,000 Ethiopians waiting for years to come to Israel, after ministers reach deal

Members of the Ethiopian Jewish community attend a religious service at the synagogue in the city of Gondar, Ethiopia, on October 26, 2020

Times of Israel staff write, “Ministers voted on Sunday to okay the immigration of thousands of Ethiopians who have been waiting for years to fly to Israel, many spending the period in transit camps. The decision came amid rising calls from leaders and members of Israel’s Ethiopian community to swiftly bring over those still waiting to emigrate as a civil war in the country heats up.”

“However, recent operations that brought over relatively small groups of Ethiopians have been dogged by claims that some have no Jewish ancestry or have committed war crimes. Those included in the proposed plan have first-degree relatives in Israel and were eligible to immigrate under a 2015 government decision, under which 9,000 people who have first-degree relatives in Israel and had arrived in camps in Gondar or Addis Ababa by 2010 would be brought to the Jewish state.”

“Some 4,000 Ethiopians were brought to Israel following the 2015 decision, but reports indicate the number of those waiting to leave has since swelled from 5,000 to around 8,000.”…

Members of the Falashmura community arrive at Ben Gurion airport, outside Tel Aviv, on December 3, 2020.

While Ethiopian Jewish immigrants from the Beta Israel community are recognized as fully Jewish, immigrants from Ethiopia belonging to the smaller Falash Mura community are required to undergo Orthodox conversion after immigrating. The Falash Mura are Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity, often under duress, generations ago. Some 30,000 of them have immigrated to Israel since 1997, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. Because the Interior Ministry does not consider the Falash Mura to be Jewish, they cannot immigrate under the Law of Return, and therefore must get special permission from the government to move to Israel.” (more…)

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