Hundreds protest delays in final Ethiopian immigration

Hundreds of people, mostly from the Ethiopian-Israeli community, began their demonstration on Sunday outside the Knesset and then marched the short way up to the PMO.

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July 29, 2018 19:53
2 minute read.
Hundreds protest delays in final Ethiopian immigration

Ethiopian protesters . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Several hundred people demonstrated outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Sunday to protest ongoing delays in bringing the remainder of the so-called Falash Mura community still in Ethiopia to Israel.

Some 8,000 people in the cities of Addis Ababa and Gondar who are of Jewish ancestry wish to immigrate to Israel and were part of a 2015 government resolution that determined to bring the remainder of the community of more than 9,000 individuals to Israel.

Only 1,300 have been brought over so far, however, with the government frequently delaying further implementation of the resolution, most recently in June.

Hundreds of people, mostly from the Ethiopian-Israeli community, began their demonstration on Sunday outside the Knesset and then marched the short way up to the Prime Minister’s Office, demanding that the remnant of the community still in Ethiopia be brought to Israel. Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman came to the protest to listen to the demonstrators.

At the end of the demonstration, large numbers of the protesters made their way to the nearby major intersection on Yitzhak Rabin Avenue and blocked traffic for a short while before police cleared the junction.

Campaigners and activists said that this action was an indication of where the protest movement is now heading and that they are now ready to increase its intensity, including acts of civil disobedience like blocking traffic, as other groups have done recently.

Those of Jewish ancestry remaining in Ethiopia are not entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return since their ancestors converted to Christianity – under duress – in the late 19th century. However, many are eligible for entry to Israel under family reunification laws.

Three-quarters of those still in Ethiopia have parents, children or siblings in Israel and all, according to activists, live as Jews in Addis and Gondar and are ready to formally convert once they reach Israel.

“There is no greater just struggle then the struggles of the Ethiopian community who want to be reunited with their family members,” said Ethiopian MK Avraham Neguise, a leading activist for the immigration of those remaining, at the rally on Sunday.

“I came here today to identify with my brothers and sisters in their painful and just struggle to be reunited with their family members who remain in Ethiopia. I call on the government to fulfill its decision which was made unanimously. The time has come to implement the decision and bring the remainder of the Ethiopian Jews to Israel, who have been waiting for many years to see their family members.


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