Thousands Of Ethiopian Falash Mura May Get Visas

According to officials, there may be as many as 6,000 people still in Ethiopia who are relatives of families already in the country.

Yaakov Levi,

Ethiopian Jews make Aliyah (file)
Ethiopian Jews make Aliyah (file)
Flash 90

Israel officially closed immigration from Ethiopia last year, as all of the Ethiopian Jews had been brought to Israel – as had those from the Falash Mura community, whose Jewish origins are spotty at best. But many of the Falash Mura families, who are from communities that intermarried with non-Jews, still have relatives in Ethiopia – and the Immigration Authority said Wednesday that it may allow them to come to Israel.

According to the Authority, there may be as many as 6,000 people still in Ethiopia who are relatives of families already in the country. Although they do not qualify for Israeli citizenship based on the Law of Return, they may qualify under family reunification statutes. The Authority plans to examine the criteria for them and formulate a policy for admitting them to Israel.

After immigration was closed, a committee was set up to consider applications for those who were ruled ineligible for the Law of Return. Some 4,000 requests for visas to Israel were filed with the committee. The Authority said that it hopes to come up with recommendations on how to move forward within a year.

In a statement, Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar said that “Israel is committed to making courageous decisions to do justice with families that were torn apart for many years.” Activists for Ethiopian Jewry welcomed the decision, saying that it was “a matter of life and death for thousands of Israeli families.”




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