Israel may allow 1,400 additional Ethiopian Falash Mura to immigrate to Israel.
In a court hearing Sunday, a panel of three Israeli High Court judges recommended that Israel bring 1,400 or so more Ethiopians to comply with a 2004 government decision to bring some 17,188 Ethiopian immigrants. But the court stopped short of explicitly issuing an order, and it also refused to hear a petition that sought to force Israel’s Interior Ministry to screen an additional 8,500 Falash Mura for their eligibility to make aliyah.
Israel’s government decided in February 2003 to enable the aliyah of thousands more Falash Mura, Ethiopians who claims links to Jewish ancestors who converted to Christianity more than a century ago due to social and economic pressures. The government clarified that decision in 2004, specifying 17,188 immigrants.
At Sunday’s hearing, the state told the court it had finished processing the potential immigrants from 2003, including children born since then.
State attorney Yochi Gnessin told the court that 15,775 Falash Mura from the original list either already were in Israel or would be coming soon. Justice Ayala Procaccia asked Gnessin to have the state allow another 1,413 not on the original list to immigrate, if they meet the state’s requirements, to “improve the morale” of the Ethiopian community.
That addition would bring the total number of Falash Mura immigrants up to the number specified in 2004.