Immigration Cuts Likely To Be Reversed

By Rebecca Spence

Published October 27, 2006, issue of October 27, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Israeli minister in charge of immigration is predicting that the recent proposal to drastically cut the number of Ethiopian Jews allowed into Israel will be reversed when it comes before parliament.

“I told the prime minister that before we pass this, we will put it before the parliament to be reconsidered,” Israel’s Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Ze’ev Boim, told the Forward. Boim said he believed that the rate of Ethiopian immigration for 2007 would be restored in the coming weeks.

Last month, the Finance Ministry reduced the number of Ethiopian immigrants being granted entry to Israel each month from 300 to 150. The ministry cited budget cuts necessitated by last summer’s costly war in Lebanon as the reason for slashing the quota for Falash Mura, Ethiopian Jews who are now returning to Judaism after their ancestors converted to Christianity.

American Jewish leaders raised an outcry following the proposed reduction, deeming it unacceptable that Israel would renege on its promise to complete Ethiopian immigration by the end of 2007. Some prominent Jewish professionals charged that racism, not the ballooning military budget, was the real impetus for the cuts. A promise by former prime minister Ariel Sharon in February 2005 to double the monthly pace of Falash Mura immigration, from 300 to 600 by June of that year, was never implemented after being postponed repeatedly by the government.

About 14,000 Falash Mura are currently living in squalor in the Ethiopian cities of Addis Ababa and Gondar, awaiting what they hope will be the green light to settle in Israel.

Boim expressed outrage that the government would even consider slowing the rate of the Ethiopian immigration. “Since 1948, there has not been one time that the government cut immigration, even in a time of war,” he said.

Still, Boim said, the integration of the Falash Mura into Israeli society is a far more complex undertaking than the assimilation of previous waves of newcomers to the Jewish state. He attributed the complications of resettlement to the cultural gaps between an impoverished African nation like Ethiopia and a developed country like Israel. Boim suggested that leaders of American Jewish charitable federations, who pledged to raise $100 million for the cause in an effort to push Israel to increase the rate of immigration, need to understand the challenges of absorbing the Falash Mura.

“I am in favor, and I push to bring them, but the American Jews should consider the difficulties,” he said.






Find us on Facebook!
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.