Renewed fighting in Ethiopia not expected to affect emigration efforts to Israel

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

New immigrants from Ethiopia land at Ben Gurion Airport on June 1, 2022. (Maxim Dinshtein)
New immigrants from Ethiopia land at Ben Gurion Airport on June 1, 2022. (Maxim Dinshtein)

The renewed fighting in northern Ethiopia will not have an immediate effect on the ongoing emigration of eligible Ethiopians to Israel, officials say.

Following years of delays, late last year Israel approved the immigration of some 3,000 Ethiopian nationals who were eligible for Israeli citizenship. Initial flights began in June, but thousands remain in Ethiopia, waiting to come to Israel.

The Jewish Agency, which largely oversees the immigration from Ethiopia, says its work is ongoing but that any change to the pace would require a government decision.

“Unlike other countries, aliyah from Ethiopia is determined by the government, not the Jewish Agency for Israel,” a spokeswoman says, using the Hebrew term for Jewish immigration to Israel.

The Immigration Ministry says there is no immediate change to the rate of immigration and that the fighting is still largely contained to northern Ethiopia, far from the camps in Addis Ababa where the prospective immigrants are staying.

“Hopefully, when a new government is formed, we will pass a government resolution to bring over all of those eligible for immigration and to finally shut the waiting camps,” a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata says.

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