Ethiopians embrace at Ben-Gurion International AirportPic: Kobi Gideon
The Jewish Agency is putting an end to mass aliyah from Ethiopia on August 28th, when two final flights to Israel consisting of 400 immigrants will depart from the small African nation.
Asher Seyum, the Jewish Agency's emissary to Ethiopia, announced the decision yesterday in a letter. He also noted that the Jewish Agency will hand over its aids compounds in the city of Gondar to Ethiopian authorities at the end of August.
The compounds, established years ago by the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and taken over by the Jewish Agency only recently, offered thousands of Ethiopians waiting to immigrate to the Jewish homeland with essential necessities including nutritional, educational, and employment services.
After the Aug. 28th flights, Ethiopians who wish to immigrate to Israel will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The same rules will apply to them as all other potential immigrants to Israel, a New York-based spokesman for the Jewish Agency told JTA.
Since 2010, an average of 200 Ethiopian immigrants a month have arrived in Israel, following the government's decision to grant aliyah eligibility to approximately 8,000 Ethiopians.
This is not the first time the Israeli government has decreed an end to mass aliyah from Ethiopia. Each time, however, pressure mounted as advocates of the issue disagreed with the policy, forcing the government to allow mass aliyah to continue.
Since 2010, over 6,500 Ethiopians have immigrated to Israel.