Gov't okays immigration of 2,000 Falash Mura from Ethiopia by end of 2020

According to the original plan, 4,500 of those waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar would be brought by the end of 2020, and the remainder by 2023.

The author (front right) with 8,000 Falash Mura in 1998 ignored at the time by the State of Israel; although all of them made aliyah, about 9,000 remain in Gondar today (photo credit: YOSEF ABRAMOWITZ)
The author (front right) with 8,000 Falash Mura in 1998 ignored at the time by the State of Israel; although all of them made aliyah, about 9,000 remain in Gondar today
(photo credit: YOSEF ABRAMOWITZ)
The government approved on Wednesday night the immigration of 2,000 Falash Mura to Israel by the end of the year.
The NIS 180 million plan was announced as part of the new government budget, which aside from the Falash Mura budget, approved special grants for the disabled population, an aid program to integrate members of the Ethiopian community in Israel, dozens of new educational programs in state and religious education, a security budget increase, a program for the empowerment and development of the Druze and Circassian populations, development and strengthening of settlement building operations in Judea and Samaria, aid budgets for student villages throughout the country, animal-rights programs and more.
Finance Minister Israel Katz backed the decision, and the situation of those waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar was worsening due to the coronavirus crisis in Ethiopia, Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said.
Preparations will now begin to bring to Israel before the end of 2020 those members of the community whose immigration is approved.
“It has been 100 days since I became aliyah and integration minister, and I am committed to all those who are waiting in Ethiopia and to shut the [communal] compounds,” Tamano-Shata said.
“I thank the finance minister, who saw eye to eye with me about the importance of this issue,” she said. “As it is said, anyone who saves one person is as if they saved an entire world.”
Last month, Tamano-Shata presented her plan for bringing to Israel the remainder of the estimated 8,000 Falash Mura who have close relatives here. She would like to bring 4,500 by the end of 2020, she said.
The government balked at this figure, and support could only be garnered for an initial 2,000 by the end of the year.
Tamano-Shata’s office said the worsening humanitarian situation facing the community in Ethiopia required more immediate steps than deliberation over the comprehensive plan.
According to the original plan, 4,500 of those waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar would be brought by the end of 2020 and the remainder by 2023.
The plan also provides for the closure of the communal compounds in those cities and for assistance to be provided to anyone not given permission to come to Israel.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this article.