During the Ethiopian civil war, about 10,000 Falashas from the Gondar region of Ethiopia were airlifted (Sept., 1984–Mar., 1985) to Israel. A second airlift of more than 14,000 occurred in May, 1991. Ethiopia subsequently agreed to permit Israel to evacuate those still remaining, and by 1999 the last remaining practicing Jews, from the Quara area of Ethiopia, were flown to Israel, bringing the total there to over 70,000. About 26,000 members of the Falash Mura seeking to immigrate to Israel remained. Questions by Israeli officials concerning their faith and sincerity resulted in the slow processing of their immigration requests. Roughly a third of the group ultimately immigrated before the Israel immigration program ended in Aug., 2008. In Jan., 2010, however, Israel resumed the immigration program, and eventually decided to allow several thousand to immigrate in stages over the next several years; the program ended in 2013. In all, about 90,000 Ethiopian Jews immigrated through 2013; several thousand Falash Mura who had sought to immigrate remained in Ethiopia. In 2015, the conditional immigration over five years of the remaining Falash Mura, numbering some 8,000 or 9,000, was approved, but only a handful were admitted in subsequent years. In 2018, however, the Israeli government announced plans to admit 1,000 of the remaining Falash Mura, a process that began in 2019. In Israel, there have been conflicts with the Orthodox Israeli rabbinate over some of the practices and traditions the Falasha that diverge from Orthodox Judaism.
See W. Leslau, ed., Falasha Anthology (1951, repr. 1969); D. Kessler, The Falashas (1985).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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