This Jewish teen from Ethiopia came to Israel for a Bible contest. His promise to leave cost thousands of dollars.
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This Jewish teen from Ethiopia came to Israel for a Bible contest. His promise to leave cost thousands of dollars.

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jewish teen from Ethiopia reportedly has deposited thousands of dollars in order to participate in the final stages of the International Bible Quiz in Israel.

The deposit is to insure that Sintayehu Shafrao, 18, returns to Gondar after the competition ends next week on Israel’s Independence Day.

Shafrao will represent Ethiopians known as Falash Mura, who claim Jewish descent. The Israeli government has pledged to bring the up to 9,000 Falash Mura remaining in Ethiopia who are waiting to make aliyah, but has not followed through with the funding for the operation.

Shafrao’s father and brother immigrated to Israel 17 years ago, according to Israel National News, or Arutz 7.

Since arriving in Israel, the teen has met with Israeli lawmakers and government ministers, including Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. During the meetings he pleaded for the lawmakers to bring the remaining Ethiopians to Israel as soon as possible.

The Interior Ministry demands large deposits from Ethiopians visiting Jewish relatives in Israel, according to reports.

About 135,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel today.