Israel scraps plan to slow down immigration of Ethiopian Jews
Anyanawo Fareda Sanbetu:
The state has withdrawn its backing from a Finance Ministry plan to reduce the monthly quota of Ethiopian Jews allowed to immigrate to Israel, it emerged on Thursday.
According to sources at the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the government backed down from its planned cut thanks to pressure by the American Jewish Congress.
The treasury had suggested to reduce the monthly immigrant quota from 300 to 150 arrivals.
Immigrant Absorption Ministry director general Erez Halfon said Wednesday "we fought for raising the number of Falash Mura monthly arrivals and therefore have not yet finalized the quota with the treasury."
The Falash Mura are Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity in the past, but have since returned to Judaism.
"But it's final. The monthly quota of Ethiopian immigrants will be 300," Halfon told a conference of Jewish Ethiopian immigrants at the Ruppin Academic Center.
A senior official at the immigration ministry said that the state is concerned that Christian Ethiopians would pose as Falash Mura and arrive in Israel, in order to escape economic strife in their country.
"This is why the remaining Ethiopian Jewish community should be brought over en masse once and for all," the official said.
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