JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than 70 new Ethiopian immigrants landed in Israel Tuesday, the first to arrive in more than seven months.
The 72 immigrants identified as Falash Mura, or Ethiopians who claim Jewish heritage, landed on Tuesday as part of a joint operation between the Jewish Agency and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. They were greeted at Ben Gurion International Airport by family members, many who had not seen each other in more than a decade, according to reports.
Two more aliyah flights from Ethiopia are scheduled for June, the Times of Israel reported.
Some 9,000 Ethiopian Falash Mura remain in the country awaiting immigration to Israel.
In 2013, Israel’s Interior Ministry approved the immigration of the remaining Falash Mura, and the Knesset in November 2015 unanimously approved a plan to bring some of them over following a public campaign launched by the nation’s Ethiopian community and volunteer organizations. But the plan did not deal with the finances, which include the long-term costs of acclimating the immigrants.
An agreement to find money in the budget for the aliyah of the Falash Mura was signed in April 2016. Some 100 immigrants were supposed to arrive in Israel each month after that, but the process has been more protracted.