February 28, 2010
Israel has always been committed to helping every Jew who wants to make Aliyah, especially those from challenging situations. We recognize that the question of the Jewish status of the Falash Mura is complicated, that Israel has limited resources, and that Israel has the right to determine its own criteria for immigration. In addition, we believe that Israel has a humanitarian obligation to resolve the issue of Falash Mura immigration.
There are approximately 8700 Falash Mura in Gondar who await a review for eligibility for Aliyah. These families, many of whom left their villages to come to Gondar, have been waiting for months and sometimes years in a precarious humanitarian situation in order to have their eligibility reviewed by Israel’s Interior Ministry.
We applaud the decision of the Government of Israel to reopen the issue of Falash Mura immigration, to begin checking the eligibility of the remaining Falash Mura in Gondar and to complete the Aliyah. However, Israel has set an extremely slow rate of Aliyah for those determined eligible – up to 100 entries per month. At this rate, thousands of people determined eligible for Aliyah may have to wait years before they arrive in Israel.
We urge the Government of Israel to complete the current review of the remaining Falash Mura in Gondar and the process of aliyah within twenty-four months.
Action Recommendations: In view of the humanitarian crisis in Gondar and the desire to finish the Aliyah, the JCPA urges its member agencies to:
- Urge the Government of Israel to expedite both the review of the Falash Muras’ eligibility for Aliyah and the immigration to Israel of those deemed eligible.
- Take a sensitive and humanitarian approach for all Falash Mura who are found to be ineligible to immigrate to Israel.
- Make a priority for the North American Jewish Communities of this aliyah – including providing support for those waiting to have their eligibility checked and those who have been deemed eligible to make aliyah and waiting to make aliyah – to complete this stirring chapter in Jewish history.