Government Approves Aliya of 8,000 Falashmura
By G. Lazer
The current government unanimously approved a decision to shut down the temporary immigrants' camp in Gondar, Ethiopia and to bring to Israel most of the 8,000 Falashmura waiting at a transit camp.
An inter-ministerial committee, which will submit within 60 days a solution to the anticipated shortfall at immigration absorption centers, will submit its opinion regarding incentives that should be given for leaving these centers. The plan includes a pledge by organizations, associations and public figures working to advance the Falashmura that this will be the last of the organized flights from Ethiopia.
According to the decision, the Falashmura will be brought to Israel by government ministries and the Jewish Agency at a rate of 200 people per month. In effect the State of Israel's handling of them as an organized group will come to an end, and the entry of additional candidates will not be approved based on belonging to the community, but rather on an independent basis.
According to a previous halachic ruling by gedolei Yisroel shlita, the Falashmura are required to undergo conversion since they are not considered Jews and they lived in Ethiopia as Christians and were assimilated among the non-Jews over the course of many generations, and even former Ethiopian immigrants avoided marrying them and issued calls not to have them brought to Israel.