NEW YORK (Sep. 11)
Some 700 Ethiopian Jewish families have now begun to enter the second stage of their absorption process in Israel and will by February be in permanent housing accommodations outside the absorption centers, according to a senior Israeli official involved in Ethiopian absorption.
The official described this development as of substantial significance inasmuch as “most of the families are still in absorption centers” since having arrived in Israel after fleeing their homes in Ethiopia in past years. More than 2,000 families remain in at least 30 absorption centers used exclusively for newly arrived Ethiopian Jews.
“Perhaps the best proof that Ethiopians are being well absorbed in Israel is that they already know where they want to go and where they want to live,” said Chaim Aron, head of the immigration and absorption department of the Jewish Agency and the WZO.
Aron spoke with reporters during a breakfast briefing today on recent developments in the Ethiopian Jewry absorption process, sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal and the Israel Aliya Center of North America. Aron is in the U.S. having attended the just concluded two-day meeting in Washington of the International Council of the World Conference on Soviet Jewry. The second stage of the absorption process includes moving to permanent housing which is expected to be located in areas around central cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. The first stage includes training in skills, languages, medical care and the establishment of household possessions. There are also some 2,000 Ethiopian teenagers living in Youth Aliya villages located across Israel.