falash mura 88.
(photo credit: )
Israel and Ethiopia have agreed to the renewal of the immigration of the Falash Mura, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday evening.
Shalom issued a statement saying that the immigration of the community that had stopped completely a few months ago because of domestic problems in Ethiopia, would now be renewed at the rate of 600 people a month. This is the number that was agreed upon by the government this year.
The ministry's deputy director-general for Africa, Miriam Ziv, headed a team that held talks with the Ethiopian government this week. One ministry official said that last week's political violence in Addis Ababa seems to be over and would not have an impact on the agreement.
"We have worked, and will continue to work at all levels to end the suffering of those in the camps living in difficult conditions," Shalom said, referring to Falash Mura waiting in compounds for permission to come to Israel. "I hope that by the end of 2007, we can complete the immigration of the entire Falash Mura community."
Ethiopian immigrants have demonstrated across from the Prime Minister's Office repeatedly over the last few weeks to place pressure on the government to do more to bring the community here.
A spokesman for the Jewish Agency said it "welcomes this decision and is preparing its team that's already been waiting since June."
The agency has trained dozens of people to help administer the compounds housing the Falash Mura. Their duties will include teaching them Hebrew and otherwise preparing them for Israeli society.
The agency, in cooperation with the Jewish federations in the US, has also launched a campaign to raise $100 million to help defray the cost of their relocation and absorption here.
The operation to bring them here will be called the Yona program after both the biblical prophet and Yona Bagola, an Ethiopian Jewish leader during Operation Moses.