Last remnant of Ethiopian ‘Jewry’ to return to Israel

Tuesday, February 01, 2005 | 
Israel has decided to bring the last 20,000 members of the Ethiopian Falash Mura tribe to the Jewish state by the end of 2007. “We're talking about 600 people a month, over 7,000 people a year, for this year and the next two years after that,” said Michael Rosenberg of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, which is responsible for immigration. The Falash Mura will join the 90,000 Ethiopian Jews already in Israel. The so-called “Black Jews” were brought here in secret airlifts in 1984 and 1991. But the fate of the Falash Mura has sparked heated debate for years. The tribe claims it was forced to convert to Christianity in the 19th century, but secretly remained faithful to Judaism. Critics charge that some Falash Mura are imposters, hoping to escape poverty stricken Ethiopia for a better life in modern Israel.

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