MK Penina Tamano-Shata
MK Penina Tamano-ShataHadas Parush/Flash90

Toward the end of the previous government’s term, a decision was made to permit 77 people to immigrate to Israel given that they had fled from a war-torn area in the north of Ethiopia and were in danger of their lives. Now, Channel 13 News reveals, it has emerged that none of the 77 are Jewish and most of them have no attachment to the Jewish People whatsoever.

The report cites Absorption Minister Penina Tamano-Shata as the moving force behind the decision to admit “77 people who fled from a war-torn area in Ethiopia in fear of their lives, who are staying in refugee camps under harsh conditions, with daily threats to their safety and health.” Fourteen million shekels were allocated to the operation to extricate them and bring them to Israel in a covert operation in which several security agencies were involved.

After the 77 arrived in Israel, they were interviewed by representatives of the Interior Ministry. According to the report, “The new arrivals recited names of ‘relatives’ in Israel without being able to explain exactly how they were related.

“Furthermore, they had not been in any actual danger, but had merely been worried that the war would spread to the region in which they were living. Some of them admitted to wanting to leave in order to find work or better living conditions.”

The report cites a long list of significant inconsistencies between the arrivals’ accounts and the actual truth. “Most of those interviewed said that they had only recently made contact with their Israeli relatives. The impression given was that this was an elaborate plot to take advantage of the system. Most of those who arrived in Israel did not come from a war zone as they originally claimed, and were in no danger of their lives. Most of them had come via another country after learning that they could thereby improve their prospects and end up with better living conditions.”

It was claimed that these were people with a connection to Judaism, but ultimately, it emerged that most of them were actually Christians, and, according to the Interior Ministry, “53 of them have no connection to Judaism whatsoever.”