Israel to approve immigration for 1 000 Ethiopian Jews

2018-09-18 16:01
Ethiopian Jews (File, AFP)

Ethiopian Jews (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Israeli government announced on Monday that it agreed to absorb 1 000 Ethiopian Jews - accepting just a fraction of the African country's 8 000 remaining Jews who want to move to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a special committee had agreed to allow community members who already have children in Israel to immigrate. It was not clear what will happen to the remaining 7 000 people.

Alisa Bodner, a spokesperson for Struggle for Ethiopian Aliyah, a group petitioning the government to allow Ethiopian Jews to immigrate, called Netanyahu's decision an "incredible disappointment" and "another spit in the face" for Israel's Ethiopian community.

Citing his previous vows, the group is calling on the prime minister to provide a path to citizenship for the remaining 7 000 members of the Jewish Ethiopian community.

Many of the 8 000 are practicing Jews and have relatives in Israel. But Israel doesn't consider them Jewish under strict religious law, meaning their immigration requires special approval.

The 8 000 are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity around a century ago, and the Israeli government views bringing them to Israel as family reunification rather than "aliya," or Jewish immigration.

Israel agreed in 2015 to bring the remaining Ethiopians to Israel, but has not authorised funding for their move. The families allege discrimination.

Avraham Neguise, an Ethiopian-Israeli lawmaker and member of the special committee, said that while he welcomes the government's decision, he was disappointed that this issue has yet to be resolved.

"We won't cease in our mission, our struggle until everyone is reunited with their family here in Israel," he said.

Neguise said the committee did not discuss plans for the remaining 7 000 Ethiopian Jews in Monday's meeting.

Israel is home to approximately 144 000 Jews of Ethiopian descent, the majority of whom immigrated to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s. Last year Israel approved immigration for 1 300 Ethiopians with relatives who had already immigrated.

But their assimilation into Israeli society hasn't been smooth, with many arriving without a formal education and then falling into unemployment and poverty. Ethiopian Jews have also protested in recent years against perceived discrimination in Israeli society.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    ethiopia  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.