Gov’t to vote on bringing 2,000 of Ethiopia’s Falash Mura to Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and deputy Public Security Minister Desta Gadi Yevarkan announce plan to bring 2,000 members of the Falash Mura community to Israel in a joint statement on October 8
The government will vote on Monday about bringing some 2,000 members of the Falash Mura community in Ethiopia to Israel, with expenses expected to reach NIS 370 million.
In the past few years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has supported and allowed the arrival of thousands of members of the Falash Mura community to Israel.
“Six months ago I promised to bring the remaining members of Ethiopia’s Jewish community to Israel. On Monday I will present the government with the proposal of bringing 2,000 people of our nation from Ethiopia, in a step that brings us closer to bringing all of them to Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“We uphold our promises,” he added.
“I don’t think we’ve had a prime minister who helped bring Ethiopia’s Jewish community to Israel more than you have since being in office,” deputy Public Security Minister, Desta Gadi Yevarkan, said while thanking Netanyahu.
Netanyahu first proposed the initiative of actively helping members of the Falash Mura community reach Israel in 1997. Since then, some 30,000 have arrived, with the arrival of an additional 2,300 approved during Netanyahu’s previous term in office.
The prime minister has also promoted unprecedented investments of hundreds of millions of shekels in absorbing and integrating Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.
“Despite still hearing about cases of racism, this is our answer – the best solution is the continued aliyah of Ethiopia’s Jews – and surely not to patronize them,” Yevarkan said in a statement, referring to recent controversial comments made by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Haskel.
Haskel, a prime leader in organizing the protests against Netanyahu in recent months, was heavily bashed on Tuesday after a video of him from August criticizing an Ethiopian police officer based on her race was made public.
In the video, Haskel is seen confronting the officer and shouting at her: “I brought your parents here from Ethiopia, are you not ashamed?”
Falash Mura is the name given to Ethiopian Jews who at some point in history converted to Christianity, whether they did so voluntarily or were forced to do so. There are approximately 8,000 remaining members of Falash Mura living in Ethiopia today.