Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said on Wednesday that the latest forecasts estimate that 90,000 new immigrants will arrive in Israel from around the world in the next 18 months. The Jewish Agency, Nefesh B'Nefesh, Qalita and other organizations dealing with aliyah have all stated of late that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a large spike in the number of Jews around the world who have expressed heightened interest in immigrating to Israel. Earlier this month, the Jewish Agency said it expected 50,000 immigrants in 2021 alone, although it also noted that there was a decrease in the number of immigrants in 2020 over 2019 figures owing to air travel restrictions and other complications due to the global health crisis. Speaking in the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on Wednesday morning, Tamano-Shata also said that she has instructed the ministry to draw up a five-year plan for immigration and absorption and said that she has made it a primary goal to encourage aliyah from around the world. During the hearing, the minister said she also intends to bring all remaining members of the Falash Mura community in Ethiopia to Israel, stating that it was an “injustice that screams to the heavens.” Tamano-Shata is herself of Ethiopian descent.Speaking in the committee on Wednesday morning, the new minister gave an overview of the goals and projects the ministry is currently working on. Addressing the ongoing delay in bringing the approximately 7,500 members of the Falash Mura community still waiting in Ethiopia to Israel, Shata said that the saga needed to be brought to a close. “We will end the camps in Ethiopia, we will bring those waiting in Ethiopia [to Israel],” she said during the committee hearing. “This needs to be a first-level national priority," she said. "This is an injustice that screams to the heavens. I get letters every day on this. It’s not Jewish to divide parents from children. It’s not just a question of who is Jewish and who is not.”The Falash Mura, descendants of Jews who converted under duress from Judaism to Christianity in the late 19th century, have been allowed to enter Israel since 1993 through the Law of Entry, since the Law of Return excludes those who converted away from Judaism from automatic immigration rights. While many of the community's first immigrants were of maternal Jewish descent, almost all of those remaining are of paternal Jewish descent. During the course of the immigration, many families were split apart, and many of those still waiting in Ethiopia have parents, children and siblings in Israel. In 2015, a government resolution was passed to bring all remaining members of the community to Israel by 2020, numbering then between 9,000 to 10,000, but only some 2,200 have been brought since then. The delays have been formally attributed to budgetary and bureaucratic problems, but there is significant opposition to the immigration of those who remain from hard liners in the religious-Zionist community – as well as from elements within the Beta Israel community of Ethiopian Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1980s and early 1990s.