Supreme Court agrees to hear petition on Falash Mura aliya

The Supreme Court of Israel Monday finally agreed to hear a petition submitted more than four years ago on behalf of some 300 Ethiopian families regarding government criteria and restrictions on the entry requirements of some Ethiopians with a maternal link to Judaism. In recent weeks, Israel's Interior Ministry announced that it was planning to remove its personnel from the Ethiopian town of Gondar - where it currently processes aliya applications for the country's remaining Falash Mura (Jews whose ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity more than a century ago) - sometime in January. In response, a coalition of local Ethiopian organizations and individual Ethiopian Israelis who still have family members in the African country resubmitted the original petition calling for the state to include an addition 8,500 people who had been excluded from its official list. The case, which has bounced back and forth between the government and the Ethiopian organizations, is expected to be heard within the next two weeks, with the State expected to give its official response several days prior to the hearing.