Photo Credit: CBN News/Jonathan Goff
11-30-2020 CBN News Jerusalem Emily Jones
JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel’s first Ethiopian-born minister Pnina Tamano-Shata landed in Ethiopia on Saturday to prepare for the airlifting of 500 Ethiopian Jews to Israel on December 3.
Tamano-Shata, who serves as Israel’s Aliyah and Integration Minister, has been urging the Israeli government to bring home the thousands of Jews still waiting to make aliyah in her home country. Tamano-Shata herself was brought to Israel from Ethiopia when she was a three-year-old during a top-secret Israeli mission called Operation Moses in 1984.
“One of the national goals I set for myself as minister of immigration and absorption is to put an end to the saga of those waiting in Ethiopia, an injustice that has been crying out to the skies for decades, causing separation of families and imparting emotional damage on those fighting to reunite with their loved ones,” Tamano-Shata told The Times of Israel before leaving for Ethiopia. Related
“Five hundred of our people will now have the privilege of fulfilling the vision of our ancestors to reach Jerusalem,” she said. “The government of Israel cannot abandon and neglect our brothers and sisters who have been waiting in Ethiopia for years and years. This injustice must end and I will continue to work until the very last of those waiting makes aliyah and reunites with their family.”
The minister hopes to bring all of the remaining members of the Ethiopian community to Israel. The government approved the immigration of 2,000 members of the smaller Falash Mura community by February 2021. Although they are ethnically Jewish, Ethiopians from the Falash Mura community cannot come to Israel according to the Law of Return because their ancestors converted to Christianity many generations ago. They must receive special permission to return to Israel and are required to convert after immigrating.
Thousands of potential immigrants have been waiting at least 15 years to come to Israel. The Israeli government in 2015 passed a decision to airlift the last of the Ethiopian Jews within five years. However, according to Jewish Agency figures, Israel has only evacuated 2,257 Ethiopians.
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