Ex-High Court chief: State must bring all Ethiopian Jews to Israel
Public committee to hold widespread protest of government plan to stop supporting Falashmura aliyah.
A public committee working on behalf of the remaining Jewish community in Ethiopia announced Thursday that it would hold a widespread campaign to protest the government's plan to stop programs supporting Falashmura immigration.
A public committee for the remnant of Jews in Ethiopia announced during an emergency meeting in Jerusalem Wednesday the initiation of a widespread public campaign protesting the government's planned termination of state programs aimed at bringing the members of Ethiopia's Falash Mura community to Israel.
Former Supreme Court president Justice Meir Shamgar, who heads the committee, said following an emergency panel meeting on Thursday that it "the state's duty to bring the remaining Jews from Ethiopia to Israel."
"It is not a question of economics but a question of Zionist and Jewish vision," he added. "In 1948 they brought half a million Jews to Israel, hundreds and thousands of them from underdeveloped countries, and now seven million Jews cannot absorb a few thousand? The state is not the property of those who live in it today; they are just the beginning of the gospel of the redemption of the children of Israel.
Government programs aimed at Falashmura immigration were scheduled to end three months from now, following the immigration of 800 of the community's members.
Organizations working to bring the remaining Falashmura to Israel report that there are at least another 8,000 community members in the former Ethiopian capital of Gondar that fit the Interior Ministry's immigration criteria and should be eligible for aliyah.
The emergency meeting was also attended by former Canadian Minister of Justice Irwin Kotler, American attorney Alan Dershowitz, and the chief rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi Shear-Yashuv HaCohen.
Among the countermeasures decided on at the meeting are the organization of protests against ending the efforts to bring the Flashmura to Israel, petitioning the high court on behalf of the Falash Mura awaiting Aliyah, and enlisting the aid of Jewish communities around the world in pressuring the government over the issue.
In addition, the committee plans to act through political channels. On Tuesday, MK Michael Eitan (Likud) submitted a legislation proposal, signed by 46 Knesset members from spanning the political spectrum, that would obligate the state to bring Falash Mura with family members in Israel to the country.