|LAST OF ETHIOPIAN JEWRY TO RETURN TO ISRAEL|
Israel has decided to bring the last 20,000 members of the Ethiopian Falash Mura tribe to the Jewish state. "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. There are about 80,000 Ethiopian Falasha Jews that live in Israel today, with about 15,000 still in Ethiopia. They trace their lineage back 3,000 years to the reign of King Solomon, and the famous Queen of Sheba who marveled at his wisdom (1 Kings 10). Many Ethiopians in Israel feel like second-class citizens due to lack of education, and doubts that have arisen regarding the “Jewishness” of large numbers within their community. A staggering 72% of Ethiopian Israelis live below the poverty line, and many of the older Ethiopian Jews have packed up what little they had and have returned to Ethiopia.
Culturally, Ethiopians are reserved and timid, and often find themselves at the end of the line when it comes to social assistance programs in Israel. For Zion’s Sake Ministries reaches out to this often forgotten segment of Israeli society with the distribution of food coupons and humanitarian aid.
“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.”