Ethiopian Jews: Next Year in Jerusalem!

Katsof said that the message of those still in Ethiopia to the Israeli government is clear: “Bring us home."

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October 1, 2019 03:31
2 minute read.
Ethiopian Jews say, "Next Year in Jerusalem"

Ethiopian Jews say, "Next Year in Jerusalem". (photo credit: Courtesy)

The remaining community of Ethiopian Jews sent a clear message to Israel in their Rosh Hashanah wish, saying "Next Year in Jerusalem."

There are still Some 7,500 Ethiopian Jews living in Gondar and Addis Ababa.

Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the government passed resolution 716 in 2015, which approved the aliyah of the remaining Jews of Ethiopia to Israel. However, this assurance has still not been implemented; reasons given by the Israeli government are budgetary constraints and political opposition in Israel.

"Until a new government is formed after the September 17 elections, no new decision can be made [to bring the remaining members of the community] – we have to wait,” A.Y. Katsof, head of The Heart of Israel organization, who has dedicated his life to bringing Jews back to their homeland, told The Jerusalem Post in July. “It’s really sad – and it’s not understandable.”

"Jewish communities in Gondar and Addis Ababa are living in dire conditions," he said. "And with pillars of the community already living in Israel, they are falling apart.

"The [Ethiopian Jewish community] are the only people who are really in a situation of life and death, facing real-life danger and really need [to get out].”

They’re the only people [who have been given] a number on who can come and how many can come – it’s really sad.”

Katsof said that the message of the Ethiopians still in Ethiopia to the Israeli government is clear: “Bring us home."

“We’ve been crying to come home for over 2,000 years,” he said, echoing their call. “It’s part of their culture: Jerusalem is their home.”

In October 2018, the Israeli government permitted 1,000 members of the Falash Mura community in Ethiopia, who have children currently living in Israel, to immigrate. However, many other members of their community have fulfilled the criteria decided upon by the Interior Ministry and other government agencies.

The Law of Return does not give the Falash Mura the right to citizenship because it is claimed that their ancestors converted to Christianity under force. Rather, they would be given Israeli citizenship under the Law of Entry by the interior minister, mainly for family reunification purposes. They would need to undergo a formal conversion to Judaism upon coming to Israel.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem organization has supported the plight of the remaining Ethiopians, assigning $1.2 million towards financing the 1,000 who have been approved to come to Israel.


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