Israel permits the migration of 3,000 Ethiopian Jews


Jerusalem (AP) —The Israeli government approved thousands of Jewish immigrants from war-torn Ethiopia on Sunday. Some of them have been waiting for decades to join their relatives in Israel.

This decision has taken a step towards solving the problems that have long complicated the relationship between the government and the Ethiopian community.

About 140,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel. Community leaders estimate that there are about 6,000 people left in Ethiopia.

Families are descendants of Jews, many practicing Jews, but Israel does not consider them Jews under religious law. Instead, they have fought to enter the country under a family integration program that requires special government approval.

Community activists have accused the government of stalling in implementing the 2015 decision to bring Ethiopians of all remaining Jewish pedigree to Israel within five years.

Under Sunday’s decision, an estimated 3,000 people are eligible to move to Israel. They include relatives’ parents, children, siblings who are already in Israel, and orphans whose parents were in Israel when they died.

“Today we are correcting the ongoing fraud,” said Punina Tamano Shata, Minister of Immigration and Ethiopian Immigrants. She said the program was “waiting for years to come to Israel with her family” and responding to those who were waiting to solve “painful problems”.

In a joint statement with the Israeli Interior Minister, she said the decision was in response to the precarious security situation in Ethiopia, where tens of thousands were killed in the past year in a battle between the government and the Tigray army. He said he came to the target.

It was not immediately clear when airlift would begin. The government has appointed a special project coordinator to oversee this effort.

Kaso Siferau, chairman of a group of Ethiopian Jewish immigrant activists, welcomed Sunday’s decision, but said there was still a long way to go.

“On the other hand, this decision makes me happy. 3000 people have realized their dreams and are united with their families,” he said.

“But that’s not the final solution. Thousands are still waiting in the camp, some for over 25 years. I hope the government will bring them all.”