JERUSALEM, Israel - By a unanimous vote on Sunday, the government approved aliyah - immigration - of the remaining Ethiopian Jews, called Falash Mura, over the next four years.
According to the government, nearly 8,000 Falash Mura have been living in very poor conditions in the city of Gondar in northern Ethiopia waiting for approval to immigrate. Many already have family in Israel.
"The government of Israel seeks to resolve this problem because there is indeed a complex humanitarian crisis there and also to avoid the creation of additional refugee camps in Ethiopia," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a cabinet communiqué.
"From my perspective, this closes a cycle because during my first term as prime minister, I brought approximately 5,000 Falash Mura to Israel," Netanyahu said.
According to the announcement, the first 700, who have already been approved for aliyah, will arrive over the next three months. After that, an estimated 200 will arrive monthly over the next four years until the entire community has immigrated to the Jewish homeland.
The aliyah of the Ethiopian Jewish community began in 1984 with Operation Moses, which airlifted approximately 8,000 Falash Mura to Israel. In 1991, Operation Solomon brought more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
Today, more than 100,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel.