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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Israel must not abandon Ethiopian Jews

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/03/israel-must-not-abandon-ethiopian-jews.html

Falahmura are Ethiopian Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity. Many want to come to Israel. Skeptics question their sincerity and claim they have been infiltrated by many people who were never Jewish, and who don't intend to be Jewish. The Israeli government is stopping a program to bring them to Israel, ostensibly because of expense, but others believe this to be a mistake. This is the highlight:
 
It is not a question of economics but a question of Zionist and Jewish vision. In 1948 they brought half a million Jews to Israel, hundreds and thousands of them from underdeveloped countries, and now seven million Jews cannot absorb a few thousand? The state is not the property of those who live in it today; they are just the beginning of the gospel of the redemption of the children of Israel."
 
 

By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
 
A public committee for the remnant of Jews in Ethiopia announced during an emergency meeting in Jerusalem Wednesday the initiation of a widespread public campaign protesting the government's planned termination of state programs aimed at bringing the members of Ethiopia's Falash Mura community to Israel.


At the Jerusalem meeting, the committee's chairman - Former Supreme Court president, Justice Meir Shamgar  said, in a rare public statement, that it is "the state's duty to bring the remaining Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. It is not a question of economics but a question of Zionist and Jewish vision. In 1948 they brought half a million Jews to Israel, hundreds and thousands of them from underdeveloped countries, and now seven million Jews cannot absorb a few thousand? The state is not the property of those who live in it today; they are just the beginning of the gospel of the redemption of the children of Israel."

Government programs for the Aliyah of the Falash Mura are scheduled to end three months from now with the immigration of 800 of the community's members. Organizations working to bring the remaining Falash Mura to Israel report that there are at least another 8000 Falash Mura that meet the Interior Ministry's immigration criteria, in the former Ethiopian capital of Gondar.


The meeting was also attended by former Canadian Minister of Justice Irwin Kotler, American attorney Alan Dershowitz, and the chief rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi Shear-Yashuv HaCohen. Among the countermeasures decided on at the meeting are the organization of protests against ending the efforts to bring the Falsh Mura to Israel, petitioning the high court on behalf of the Falash Mura awaiting Aliyah, and enlisting the aid of Jewish communities around the world in pressuring the government over the issue.

In addition, the committee plans to act through political channels. On Tuesday, MK Michael Eitan (Likud) submitted a legislation proposal, signed by 46 Knesset members from spanning the political spectrum, that would obligate the state to bring Falash Mura with family members in Israel to the country


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