Cabinet Approves Netanyahu, Kahlon Proposal to Take In 1,000 Ethiopian Christians
The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting, on Sunday approved the proposal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (kulanu) to bring to Israel approximately 1,000 members of the Falash Mura community who have children are in Israel.
In 1860, Henry Aaron Stern, a Jewish convert to Christianity, traveled to Ethiopia and Eritrea in an attempt to convert the Beta Israel community to Christianity. Today, according to some estimates, there may be as many as 50,000 Christian converts in Ethiopia and Eritrea who maintain some familial relations with Ethiopian Israelis.
In February 2003, the Israeli government applied to the Falash Mura Resolution 2958, which granted maternal descendants of Jews the right to make Aliyah to Israel under the Law of Return and to obtain citizenship should they convert to Judaism.
Earlier on Sunday, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the cabinet ministers, ahead of a scheduled debate on the matter at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, demanding that the Falash Mura not be allowed to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.
Under Sunday’s cabinet decision, the Interior Minister will be assigned the responsibility of evaluating and approving the entry of candidates who meet the criterion of having children who entered Israel as per previous government decisions regarding the Falash Mura community.
These Christian parents would be able to bring with them their partners and their unmarried children who do not have children.
The Aliyah and Integration Ministry will provide those entering Israel with the rights due to Ethiopian Olim under Resolution 2958. The government’s Conversion Division will also provide conversion services.
The new cabinet decision follows government decision #1911 from August 11, 2016 on entry into Israel for family unification for community members from Gondar and Addis Ababa, and government decision #716 from November 15, 2015 regarding the bringing to Israel of the last community members waiting in Gondar and Addis Ababa.