Ethiopian Jews Protest for Right to Immigrate to Israel

Ethiopian Jews Protest for Right to Immigrate to Israel

Members of Ethiopia’s Jewish community gather below a banner reading “Welcome” in Amharic, English and Hebrew, to protest the Israeli decision not to allow all of them to emigrate to Israel, leaving their families divided between the two countries, in Addis Ababa, Nov. 19, 2018.
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Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews gathered in the country’s capital Addis Ababa on Monday to protest the Israeli government’s refusal to allow all of them to immigrate to Israel, which they say has split families between the two countries.

About 135,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, many of whom are related to the nearly 8,000 still awaiting permission to perform “aliya,” or Jewish immigration. Last October, the Israeli government made plans to bring over 1,000 people — but only one family has been allowed into the country since then.

Israel has been absorbing Ethiopian Jews by the thousands since the late 1970s through immigration and covert government missions that have secretly smuggled them out of Africa. In recent years, regulations slowed the flow of African migrants into Israel, and then stopped it completely.

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