The head of the group of protestors for Ethiopian aliyah said on Wednesday that senior government officials who intend to participate in a delegation to Ethiopia are treating it “as if it were a human safari trip,” instead of investing the funds in the aliyah process itself.
The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday that a delegation of director-generals of government ministries are set to embark on a mission to Ethiopia in July, after which it will suggest to the cabinet a plan to wrap up immigration from Ethiopia.
“We at the headquarters of the Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry are angry with the delegation for using aliyah budgets to send a delegation to Ethiopia,” Surafel Alamo, the coordinator of the Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry told the Post.
Why are the protesters upset with the Israeli government delegation to Ethiopia?
He added that instead of paying for the delegation of director-generals of ministries, “the government could have financed a flight of the immigrants from Ethiopia to Israel.”
Alamo explained that “the role of government officials is to find a solution for the upcoming budget,” with regards to funding aliyah from Ethiopia, and “not travel to visit the Jewish communities in Ethiopia as if it were a human safari trip. We require those senior managers to sit at a round table and find a solution for the issue of immigration, instead of wasting time on travel.”
According to a letter written by the director-generals of the Jewish Agency and the Aliyah and Integration Ministry, obtained by The Jerusalem Post, a “professional delegation of government ministries to Ethiopia,” will take place for four days, beginning July 2nd. “The ministry and the Jewish Agency are working in Ethiopia to immigrate 3,000 eligible olim [immigrants to Israel] who were approved by the Interior Ministry, as part of Government Resolution No. 713,” the letter stated, of the decision made by the Naftali Bennett led government, in 2021.
The delegation will be led by Aliyah and Integration Ministry Director-General Avichai Kahana and Jewish Agency director-general Amira Aharonowitz, and they will be joined by representation from almost all of the government ministries.
The expedition is expected to leave on July 2, 2023, and will last for four days. Each ministry will fund the flight to Ethiopia and the hotel, while the Jewish Agency will cover the rest of the costs of the tour, as well as the flight back to Israel with Ethiopian olim.