Broward County Jewish Federation allocates $30,000 for Ethiopian Jews

Ethiopia’s remaining Jews, many of whom are awaiting approval to enter Israel, number between 10,000 to 14,000, according to the federation.

JEWISH AGENCY Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog welcomes Ethiopian olim in Operation Zur Israel (photo credit: JEWISH AGENCY)
JEWISH AGENCY Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog welcomes Ethiopian olim in Operation Zur Israel
(photo credit: JEWISH AGENCY)

The Jewish Federation of Broward County, which earlier this year committed to raising $100,000 to provide assistance to struggling Ethiopian Jews, recently allocated over $30,000 for immediate emergency use.

Conditions in Ethiopia have worsened following more than a year of war and bloodshed as rebels in the northern Tigray region wage battles against military forces, while COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the country of 115 million. Ethiopia’s remaining Jews, many of whom are awaiting approval to enter Israel, number between 10,000 to 14,000, according to the federation.

Most live in Gondar, where the Beta Israel ethnic group (the historical name of the Israelite Ethiopian community) was traditionally based. Gondar has become a battlefield over the last month, as insurgent Tigray militants have battled Ethiopia’s military in clashes that have lasted since November 2020.

92,000 Ethiopian Jews have made aliyah and immigrated to the Jewish State since Israel introduced eligibility for the “right of return” law in 1973, which permits Jews from anywhere in the world the legal right to resettle in Israel.

ETHIOPIAN CHILDREN, whose roots trace back to Judaism, look out of a window at a Beta Israel school while awaiting immigration to Israel, in Gondar in 2007.  (credit: ELIANA APONTE/REUTERS)ETHIOPIAN CHILDREN, whose roots trace back to Judaism, look out of a window at a Beta Israel school while awaiting immigration to Israel, in Gondar in 2007. (credit: ELIANA APONTE/REUTERS)

Many of the remaining Jews are from a group called the Falash Mura, who cannot exercise the same right of return as Beta Israel, though they are being brought to Israel increasingly via standard immigration channels. The Falash Mura were forcibly converted in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. The Israeli government approved a plan to grant 2,000 Falash Mura Ethiopians permission to immigrate to Israel by the end of 2020.

“Helping Ethiopians and Jews worldwide come home to Israel is one of clearest demonstrations of our love and commitment to the State of Israel, which is central to our core mission,” said Jewish Federation Board of Directors Chair, Alan B. Cohn. “We will not forsake our brothers and sisters at this desperate time,” Cohn concluded.