falash mura 88.
(photo credit: )
The government has dropped the proposed cut in the rate of immigration of Falash Mura, keeping the number at 300 per month.
The Treasury included the cut in the 2007 draft budget to help find money for the cost of the summer's war. But the move sparked outrage in the Ethiopian community and among North American Jews, who had launched a major fundraising campaign to help absorb the 13,000 to 18,000 Falash Mura still in Ethiopia.
Those groups commended the decision to rescind the cut, but continued to criticize the government for not fulfilling a 2005 decision to double the rate to 600 a month.
"I am happy that they didn't cut the number in half," said Avi Masfin, spokesman for the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews. But he added, "We'll continue to fight until they bring all the Jews from Ethiopia."
Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim had opposed the cut and pushed for it to be dropped.
In welcoming the cancelling of the cut, Boim said, "Even in these most difficult days, the State of Israel can't let financial considerations stop aliya and hurt the Zionist enterprise."
The United Jewish Communities (UJC) had also asked the Treasury to reverse the cut. This past year, the UJC launched a fundraising campaign to raise $100 million to help absorb Ethiopian immigrants after the 2005 decision.
Nachman Shai, director-general of the United Jewish Communities-Israel, even joined a demonstration in September outside the Prime Minister's Office calling on the budget cut to be removed. The protest was one of several held by Ethiopians on the subject.
The Falash Mura are Ethiopians who converted to Christianity under duress and have returned to Judaism. They are brought in under the more restricted Law of Entry rather than the Law of Return, which offers citizenship to all Jews.