falash mura 88.
(photo credit: )
A special inter-ministerial committee on the Falash Mura will be convened on Wednesday to reconsider cuts to their pace of absorption, Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim told The Jerusalem Post Sunday.
The 2007 draft budget cuts the monthly rate of Falash Mura arrivals from 300 to 150, a provision that has angered Ethiopian activists and leaders of North American Jewry. Following an outcry in September, the government agreed to reevaluate the cut, with sources involved with the issue telling the Post that the rate was expected to be returned to 300. A formal decision, however, has yet to be taken.
Boim, who opposed the cut, said he was "optimistic" that the rate would be returned to the 300 level, since Prime Minster Ehud Olmert had agreed to review the issue.
"If he [Olmert] were determined to cut the number, he wouldn't have supported reconsidering it," he said.
Sources have said that Olmert has a "positive attitude" toward keeping the higher rate. The number of 300 still represents less than half of the rate that the government promised to bring each month starting in 2005. Following that decision, American Jewry committed to raising $100 million to help facilitate their absorption, which is much more expensive than that of other immigrants. Diaspora leaders were incensed when the government first failed to implement the raise, then proposed cutting the rate.
The Treasury justified the cut as part of the trimming needed to finance the summer's war in the north.
The Falash Mura are Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity under duress and have since returned to Judaism. They are accordingly brought to Israel under the limited Law of Entry rather than the more expansive Law of Return.