Knesset approves aliyah for 8,000 Falashmura members

11/14/2010 09:37

From Jerusalem Post: 

Almost 8,000 people from the Falash Mura community in Ethiopia will make aliya to Israel in the next four years, according to a decision that was confirmed in the Knesset on Sunday.

"There are approximately 8,000 men, women and children who live under very difficult humanitarian conditions, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a government meeting.
The prime minister went on to say that "the Government of Israel seeks to resolve this problem because there is indeed a complex humanitarian crisis there and so as to avoid the creation of additional refugee camps in Ethiopia."

"In the first months, according to the proposal that has been submitted, 700 eligible Falashmura will come to Israel and in the next three years, the remainder of those eligible will be brought to Israel at the rate of 200 a month" Netanyahu further explained.

Adding a personal perspective to the decision Netanyahu said "this closes a cycle because during my first term as Prime Minister, I brought approximately 5,000 Falashmura to Israel and today we are discussing an agreed-upon arrangement with all of the relevant bodies, and there are many, so that we might finally resolve this painful and complicated problem." 

"We have a moral commitment as Jews, as the People of Israel, to find a solution," he continued.

The Prime Minister's Office released a statement on Sunday explaining its decision to allow an additional 8,000 Falashmura to make aliya to Israel from Ethiopa.

"The cabinet today decided to bring the last of the Falashmura to Israel, on religious and humanitarian grounds and in such a way as to prevent the creation of additional refugee camps in Ethiopia," said the statement.
According to the PMO, 7,846 Falashmura are candidates for entry into Israel.  Based on the cabinet's decision, the Interior Ministry will evaluate the waiting Falashmura's candidacy according to three criteria: Falashmura who are of Jewish descent in the maternal line and who wish to return to their Jewish faith in Israel, those registered in the aforesaid registry since 2007 (as was updated in 2010), and those with relatives in Israel who have submitted a request or will do so within three months. 

As part of the cabinet's decision, it was also decided that once the arrival of all eligible Falashmura has been completed within four years, there will be no further organized group arrivals from Ethiopia.  Entry to Israel thereafter will be under the Law of Return or by order of the Interior Minister.

Immediately following the government's decision, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, said it would give NIS 10 million to assist in the absorption of olim from Ethiopia on top of the NIS 40 million it already allocates to help newcomers to Israel.

“We laud this historic and moral decision that the Israeli government made today,” the Fellewship’s CEO Zion Gabai said. “We see it as our moral responsibility to support the Falash Mura and provide them with the good lives they deserve.”

The Public Committee on Behalf of the Remnants of Ethiopian Jewry welcomed the government's decision on Sunday to allow the Falashmura to make aliya.

"The decision represents a moral, Jewish, human and Zionist decision from the first step that will come to complete the aliya from Ethiopia and create justice towards Jewish brothers who are begging to return and be conected to the Jewish nation and its land," said group chairman and for High Court chief justice Meir Shamgar.

The committee praised both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who they said "initiated the decision."

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