The Ethiopian community in Israel spans about 140,000 people, who just welcomed about 40 new members from Ethiopia on March 2. The new arrivals make up about nine families, all who belong to a sect of Jewish descendants called Falash Mura, a community who long ago converted to Christianity, and currently seek a return to Judaism.
The 40 people who most recently arrived were greeted by family members at Ben Gurion airport, and will be housed in absorption centers and kibbutzim across the country. Many had been waiting in a camp in Gondar, Ethiopia for years, and had first degree family members excited to be reunited.
Because of their ancestral conversion to Christianity, the Law of Return to Israel is not recognized, so the Falash Mura must go through an approval process by the government. Israel approved the immigration of 400 Ethiopians; however, only 40 were available to arrive on short notice prior to the elections. About 8,000 people in Ethiopia are awaiting approval from the Israeli government to immigrate. In 2015, a cabinet decision is Israel stated that it would bring all 8,000 people to Israel by 2020. In 2018, the cabinet approved an additional 1,000 immigrants to arrive in 2019, of which only 600 people arrived in Israel.
While the country seems to support the community’s full immigration to Israel, the statements are not yet seeing full financial support.