By Cnaan Liphshiz
Israel’s government has allocated $51 million to bring over 2,000 Ethiopian citizens this year, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
The allocation was finalized Wednesday in budget talks, according to the The Marker’s report about the statement.
Immigration Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata told Ynet that the 2,000 people awaiting aliyah, or immigration by Jews and their relatives to Israel, will have landed at Ben Gurion Airport by 2021.
The funding is part of a plan presented last year by Tamano-Shata for bringing a total of about 10,000 Ethiopians to Israel in the coming three years. Those prospective olim are living in temporary camps in in Gondar and Addis Ababa.
Israel completed the airlifting of a group of Ethiopian Jews known as Beta Israel in the 1990s. However, this did not include a second group, often known as Falash Mura, people with Jewish ancestry who are widely believed to have converted to Christianity under duress while adhering to some Jewish traditions.
About 30,000 Falash Mura have been brought over to Israel over the past 30 years.
Rabbinical authorities have been split on the status of the so-called Falash Mura, a local pejorative term for people who call themselves the “remnants of Ethiopian Jewry.”
Tamano-Shata told Ynet that when the 10,000 Ethiopians awaiting aliyah are in Israel, the camps will be closed and no further immigration from Ethiopia to Israel would occur.