The Israeli government on Sunday approved unanimously a decision to allow the Falashmura who are still in transit camps in Ethiopia to be flown to Israel, following which the camps would be shut down and there wil be no more organized aliyah from Ethiopia 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 mission in the 19th and 20th centuries. The term refers both to Jews who did not adhere to Jewish law, and Jews who converted to Christianity, either voluntarily or by force.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement: “Today we have taken an important decision, to bring to Israel within the next five years the last of the communities with links to Israel waiting in Addis Ababa and Gonder.” The PM noted that this is an important move for Ethiopian families in Israel who have been split up.
The newcomers would have to undergo a conversion, as well as be taught Jewish values and the history of the Zionist movement.
Chairman of the Committee for Immigration Absorption and Diaspora, MK Avraham Negusa, who has been in the forefront of the fight to bring to Israel the remaining Jews of Ethiopia for the past 25 years, congratulated Netanyahu and Interior Minister Silvan Shalom on today’s decision.
“This is a great day for the Jewish people,” Negusa said. “For thousands of years, Ethiopian Jewry prayed to return to Israel and waited for nearly a decade torn from their families. Today their prayers were answered.”