Another 8,700 Ethiopians

In an editorial Wednesday, Ha’aretz calls on the Israeli prime minister to reject pressure to open up Israel’s doors to another 8,700 would-be Ethiopian immigrants. Tracing some of the history surrounding the aliyah of the Falash Mura (which you can read more about here), the editorial slams Ehud Olmert for bending to “political pressures, here in Israel and especially from the United States,” to expand immigration from Ethiopia:

Once again it became clear that Israeli governments cannot be relied upon to implement policies that they themselves determined. There is always room for yet another committee, another pressure group, another reexamination.

If the explanation for the mass Falashmura immigration is demographic, then there is no limit to the number of people who are prepared to convert to Judaism in order to immigrate to Israel and improve their living conditions. If the justification is family reunification, then Israel has a great number of nuclear families begging to be reunited with non-Jewish relatives in Russia, including adopted children and grandmothers who were deported at the end of a visit, and there are Israeli Arabs who have been prohibited from living here with their spouses.

In order to set a sane immigration policy, we need a political leadership that can plan ahead.

Ha’aretz published an editorial along similar lines in April, albeit with different numbers cited (there’s Ha’aretz for you!).

Read this JTA story I wrote for more background about who these 8,700 people are, and visit this archive for more on those befuddling numbers…

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