Ethiopian immigrants arrive in Israel, despite pandemic

Dozens of immigrants from Ethiopia arrive in Israel this week, bringing number of Ethiopian immigrants to arrive during pandemic to 269.

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Ethiopian immigrants arrive in Israel (archive)
Ethiopian immigrants arrive in Israel (archive)
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Some 34 immigrants from Ethiopia arrived in Israel, bringing to 269 the total of Ethiopians to make aliyah since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new olim who arrived early Thursday morning were immediately placed in isolation as a requirement to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

They are among 400 Ethiopians who claim Jewish heritage who were approved for immigration three weeks before Israel’s March 2 election.

Forty-three Ethiopian immigrants arrived less than a week before the election. The rest of the arrivals were put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, 73 Ethiopian immigrants arrived on a flight at the end of March. And another group of 119 arrived in mid-May.

The potential immigrants are part of the Falash Mura community, who claim links to descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity generations ago under duress but now seek a return to Judaism. Some 8,000 Falash Mura in Ethiopia are awaiting permission to immigrate to Israel, most of whom have some family members in Israel.