"All of the Falash Mura have already immigrated to Israel,"
claimed the Jewish Agency in a report submitted to PM Ehud
Olmert. "All those who were counted in the 1999 survey as
potential immigrants have either been brought to Israel or
their eligibility was rejected following inquiries conducted
by the Interior Ministry."
The Prime Minister issued instructions to conduct another
inquiry into bringing the Falash Mura to Israel following
pressure from Shas and Falash Mura organizations, though the
Jewish Agency was scheduled to end its operations in Ethiopia
two months ago. Falash Mura interest groups claim that in the
northern city of Gondar another 8,700 people are waiting for
their eligibility checks to be conducted.
According to leading halachic figures shlita, the
Falash Mura must undergo conversion since the vast majority
converted to Christianity many years ago and became
assimilated among non-Jews. Even other Ethiopian immigrants
view the Falash Mura as foreign transplants and object to
their immigration to Israel.
In 1991 the aliya of the Falash Mura was banned under
Operation Salomon. Following pressure applied by Israeli
governments, in 1999 a survey was conducted in Ethiopia and
30,000 Falash Mura were located.
Falash Mura interest groups claim the Interior Ministry
personnel sent to look into their eligibility and Jewish
Agency personnel who handled their aliya overlooked 11,000
Falash Mura scattered in villages throughout Ethiopia. A
Jewish Agency official responding to these claims said they
are complete nonsense, and efforts failed in the High Court
as well. In practice Jewish Agency heads firmly oppose
carrying on with the campaign to bring the Falash Mura,
claiming that the Law of Return does not qualify them to
immigrate and the country has already fulfilled its
obligation by bringing all those found in 1999.
The 1999 survey listed 28,951 Falash Mura, of which 23,021