Of the African country’s 8000 Jews, the Israeli government announced that it would be absorbing 1000 Ethiopian Jews. This figure is just a fraction of those who want to move to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that there was a special committee that held a discussion and agreed to allow those who already have children in Israel to immigrate.
A group, Struggle for Ethiopian Aliyah, petitioning the Israeli government to allow the Ethiopian Jews to immigrate, called the prime minister’s decision to absorb only a fraction an “incredible disappointment” and “another spit in the face” for Israel’s Ethiopian community. The group is calling on Netanyahu to openly offer a path to citizenship for the remaining members of the Jewish Ethiopian community.
According to Atlanta Star, “Many of the 8,000 are practicing Jews and have relatives in Israel. But Israel doesn’t consider them Jewish under strict religious law, meaning their immigration requires special approval. The 8,000 are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity around a century ago, and the Israeli government views bringing them to Israel as family reunification rather than “aliya,” or Jewish immigration.”
In 2015, Israel agreed to bring the remaining Ethiopians to immigrate to Israel, but the families allege discrimination because until now there is no funding that has been released to facilitate their move.
An Ethiopian-Israeli lawmaker and member of the special committee, Avraham Neguise, said that though he welcomes the government’s decision, he felt disappointed that the issue was not finally resolved. He also pointed out the fact that during the Monday meeting, the committee didn’t discuss plans regarding the remaining 7000 Ethiopian Jews.
“We won’t cease in our mission, our struggle until everyone is reunited with their family here in Israel.”
Reports by media outlets have it that Israel has approximately 144,000 Ethiopian Jews. And that, “the majority of whom immigrated to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s. Last year Israel approved immigration for 1,300 Ethiopians with relatives who had already immigrated. But their assimilation into Israeli society hasn’t been smooth, with many arriving without a formal education and then falling into unemployment and poverty. Ethiopian Jews have also protested in recent years against perceived discrimination in Israeli society.”
Recently during the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Atomic Energy Commission Director General Zeev Snir, called for action to be taken against Syria and Iran nuclear sites. He went ahead to state, “Iran and Syria pose significant proliferation threats to the region, and the world. Syria built an undeclared, secretive military nuclear reactor at Dair Alzour. Such concealment of illicit activities, is a clear violation of the NPT and Syria’s safeguards obligations. The IAEA and the international community should have taken action ten years ago, and must take action now.”
He then added that, “The IAEA must conduct a robust verification of Iran’s clandestine activities. The covert Iranian nuclear weapons program is a documented fact.”
To many observers, Israel is gradually holding on very tightly to its religious laws that seem to be changing a lot of things for the nation.