Ethiopian immigration in doubt ahead of Israeli budget vote
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Ethiopian immigration in doubt ahead of Israeli budget vote

Family reunification for 8,000 non-Jewish relatives needs cabinet approval before 2019 budget passes

Illustrative: Family members of Ethiopian Jews wait their arrival at Ben Gurion airport, outside of Tel Aviv on June 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90.)
Illustrative: Family members of Ethiopian Jews wait their arrival at Ben Gurion airport, outside of Tel Aviv on June 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90.)

AP — A vote by Israel’s government to approve the immigration of thousands of Ethiopians did not occur Sunday, a government official said, casting doubt on an attempt to reunite hundreds of families split between the two countries.

The families need the Cabinet to agree to fund the immigration of 8,000 Ethiopians before parliament votes on the national budget, expected this week. Israel does not consider these Ethiopians to be Jewish, which is why they need government approval to immigrate.

The official said the government discussed the issue but did not vote on it. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss Cabinet deliberations.

Alisa Bodner, an activist with a group pushing for the immigration, said that “as of now, the issue of Ethiopian immigration is not in the budget.” She said the issue was delayed to another meeting, but it was not clear whether it could still be included in the 2019 budget.

The families see the issue as part of an inconsistent and discriminatory immigration policy, and they and their supporters plan to protest outside the Knesset on Monday.

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