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Ethiopia Will Let Jews Leave, Knesset Members Says on Return

November 19, 1990
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Knesset member who just returned from Ethiopia reported that the government is prepared to allow all Jews in that country to leave for Israel and urged the Israeli authorities to prepare for the influx.

The Jewish Agency and immigration authorities should speed up the issuance of family reunion papers and streamline other bureaucratic procedures, said Geula Cohen of Tehiya.

Cohen, who is deputy minister of Science and Energy, was invited to brief the Ministerial Absorption Committee headed by Housing Minister Ariel Sharon on her trip.

She said her talks with presidential advisers and various ministers in Addis Ababa left the impression that the Ethiopian authorities regard the thousands of Jews now congregated in their capital to be a problem and a burden.

Consequently, she said, although the Ethiopian government is disappointed by what it says is Israel’s failure to supply promised aid, it is willing to allow the Jews to emigrate.

About 100 Ethiopians arrived in Israel last Thursday night, via Rome. They were the first arrivals from Ethiopia in many months.

She said there are an estimated 17,000 Jews presently in Addis Ababa who receive some medical and welfare assistance from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and other help from the Israeli Embassy there.

An additional 2,000 to 3,000 Jews are believed to be living in rural areas.

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