Group of 64 Ethiopian Falashmura Due to Arrive in Israel on Sunday

The government has committed to bringing 1,300 of the 9,000 Falashmura in Ethiopia to Israel within a year.

Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron
Demonstrators in Jerusalem Sunday. Hundreds of people march with signs, Israeli flags and photographs of loved ones.
Demonstrators in Jerusalem call on government to airlift Falashmura from Ethiopia, March 20, Jerusalem.Credit: Emil Salman
Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron

A group of 64 members of Ethiopia's Falashmura community are due to arrive in Israel on Sunday, as part of the government's commitment in April to bring 1,300 members of the community to Israel within a year.

The Falashmura are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity under duress.

The government decided in November 2015 to bring some 9,000 members of the community who are currently waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar to Israel within five years.

However, the plan was frozen in February because the decision had been taken without specifying how it would be financed.

The suspension precipitated a coalition crisis, with Knesset members David Amsalem and Avraham Nagosa (Likud) refusing to vote with the government for a month in protest.

The government eventually capitulated in August, deciding to bring 1,300 of the Falashmura to Israel within a year. The decision applied primarily to those whose immediate relatives are already living in Israel.

The group arriving Sunday will be greeted at the airport by Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and MKs Amsalem and Nagosa.

They will initially go to absorption centers around the country, where they will learn Hebrew and undergo conversion.

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