Ethiopians march in J'lem for aliya of Falash Mura

A group of approximately 1,000 Ethiopian immigrants protested Sunday afternoon outside of the Knesset building in Jerusalem, calling on the government to allow the immigration of almost 10,000 Falash Mura residents of the Gondar aliya camp. Residents of the camp suffer from starvation and extreme poverty. Some residents have reportedly died as a result of the conditions in the camp. The Falash Mura, who call themselves Beta Israel, are Ethiopians of Jewish ancestry whose progenitors converted to Christianity several generations ago to escape social and economic pressures. Many have since resumed Jewish practices while awaiting aliya, but their emigration has stalled over questions about who will pay for their immigration and absorption in Israel, whether or not they really are Jews, and how many of them remain in Ethiopia. Aid officials say there are no more than 20,000 Falash Mura left in Ethiopia, but a special Jerusalem Post investigation in March found indications of tens of thousands more Beta Israel in the Ethiopian hinterlands.