A plan to bring to Israel some 9,000 Ethiopians who claim Jewish descent has been put on hold after no money was budgeted for it.
The director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Eli Groner, sent an email to the team in charge of the plan’s implementation saying the airlift of the remaining Ethiopians, or Falashmura, will be suspended until the nearly $1 billion required to fund it is allocated, Ynet reported. The email said the government approved the plan without allocating a budget.
The Knesset unanimously approved the plan in November following a public campaign launched by the Ethiopian community in Israel and volunteer organizations.
Falashmura are Ethiopians who claim links to descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity generations ago but now seek to return to Judaism and immigrate to Israel. Their permanent entry into Israel will be dependent on completing the conversion process.
About 135,000 Jews of Ethiopian descent are living in Israel. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel during Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1992.
Israel announced in August 2013 that it had brought the last of the eligible Falashmura to the country.