ETHIOPIA - 1,000 More to Come to the Promised Land

Arno Froese

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he has decided to bring another 1,000 members of the Falash Mura community still living in Ethiopia to Israel, and has ordered Interior Minister Arye Deri to draft a government resolution to implement this decision.

The decision not to authorize the immigration of the entire remaining community was criticized by activist groups, who said that it constituted a failure to adhere to a commitment in 2015 to bring all of the remaining members of the community to Israel.

“This is not a simple decision due to other consequences we have of the community from Ethiopia, but I am determined to do this,” he continued, noting that his government brought 1,300 members of the community to Israel in 2015.

The Committee for the Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews organization strongly denounced Netanyahu’s decision, saying they viewed it not as bringing 1,000 people to Israel but as leaving 7,000 people behind.

The Falash Mura do not have the right to citizenship under the Law of Return since their ancestors converted, under duress, to Christianity, and are instead granted citizenship under the Law of Entry on the consideration of the Interior Minister, and family reunification principles.

There are approximately 8,200 members of the Falash Mura community in the Ethiopian cities of Addis Ababa and Gondar who are seeking to immigrate to Israel on the basis of family reunification and of being “descendants of Jews.”

Critics of Falash Mura immigration, including the Beta Israel community which never converted, argue that they have no real right to immigrate since they are not Jewish because their ancestors converted to Christianity.

Activists for the community reject these arguments however, with Neguise and Waldman telling The Jerusalem Post earlier this year that if all 8,000 people were brought in one immigration they would support closing down the community centers in Addis Ababa and Gondar and ending the mass immigration.

-www.jpost.com, 17 September 2018

Arno's commentary

The Ethiopian Jews—Falash Mura, which means “House of Israel”—have existed, according to MyJewishLearning.com, for 15 centuries. Much controversy surrounds this issue. One paragraph from “The History of Ethiopian Jewry” by MyJewishLearning.com reads: “Sometimes the Beta Israel were treated well by the Ethiopian monarchy, but at other times they suffered persecution. Many fellow Ethiopians refer to the Beta Israel as falasha (a derogatory term meaning outsider).” In 1624, the ruling king’s army captured many Ethiopian Jews, forced them to be baptized, and denied them the right to own land. According to local legend, some members of the Beta Israel chose suicide over conversion.”

Persecution is certainly a mark of a Jew; thus, the doors have been opened for Ethiopian Jews to come to Israel. Presently, over 125,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel. They were brought in two mass immigrations sponsored by the Israeli government: Operation Moses in 1984, and Operation Solomon in 1991. It seems that the remnant will eventually also be permitted to enter Israel and receive permanent residency.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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