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April 8, 2016  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Aliyah for 9,000 Ethiopians to restart in June

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Some 1,300 Ethiopians who claim Jewish descent will begin arriving in Israel in June, with 9,000 coming over the next five years, under a new Israeli government agreement.

The agreement to find money in the budget for the aliyah of the Ethiopians was signed April 7, avoiding a government crisis.

The Knesset unanimously approved a plan last November to bring the remaining Ethiopians who claim Jewish heritage following a campaign by the Ethiopian community in Israel and volunteer organizations. But in February the government announced it had put the plan on hold indefinitely until nearly $1 billion needed to fund the immigration was found in the budget.

The Ethiopians, known as Falash Mura, claim links to descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity but now seek to return to Judaism and immigrate to Israel. Their permanent entry into Israel is dependent on completing the conversion process.

About 135,000 Jews of Ethiopian descent are living in Israel including tens of thousands who arrived in airlifts in 1984 and 1992.

Israel announced in August 2013 that it had brought the last of the eligible Falash Mura, after checking the aliyah eligibility of an additional 8,000 Ethiopians. Many of those remaining have family who are already in Israel.

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