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Era of Ethiopian Aliya Draws to a Close

After more than 30 years, the state prepares to end aliyah from Ethiopia. Final arrivals expected in August.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/2/2013, 8:52 AM

Ethiopian Baby with Israeli flag
Ethiopian Baby with Israeli flag
Flash 90

A group of 400 Ethiopian citizens is expected to arrive in Israel in late August in what will be the last organized aliyah (immigration) flight from that country.

The government is officially wrapping up the aliyah program in Ethiopia. Aid compounds in the country that currently house those planning aliyah will be handed over to Ethiopian authorities.

While the coordinated aliyah that began in the 1980s will end, individuals who wish to make aliyah will still be considered on a case-by-case basis, as in other countries.

In 2010 the government began a program to bring 7,000 members of Ethiopia’s Falash Mura community to Israel. The Falash Mura are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity.

The subject of Ethiopian aliyah has been a controversial one in recent years, with some government officials seeking the close the program while others pushed to keep it open. The decision to end organized aliyah groups in August was part of a compromise deal.