The government approved on Sunday a motion to allow some 398 Falash Mura Ethiopians to migrate to Israel, despite objections by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
The measure was proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Aliyah and Integration Yoav Galant.
During a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Mandelblit argued that the measure could be interpreted as a campaign ploy directed at Ethiopian-Israelis just weeks before the elections.
The attorney general also criticized the lack of preparation that went into putting the plan together to bring 398 Falash Mura to Israel, saying that an insufficient amount of data had been provided regarding applicants interested in migrating to Israel.
The Falash Mura is the name given to those of the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia and Eritrea who converted to Christianity, often under duress, as a consequence of the mission during the 19th and 20th centuries.
There are approximately 8,000 members of the Falash Mura living in Ethiopia who are waiting to immigrate and some even have close relatives in Israel.
The Falash Mura cannot immigrate under the Law of Return, because the Interior Ministry does not consider them to be Jewish, and therefore must get special permission from the government to move to Israel.
The Campaign for Ethiopian Jews’ Aliyah said in a Sunday statement that the government’s decision was insufficient and neglected hundreds of Falash Mura members who will be forced to remain in Ethiopia.
The campaign also noted that Netanyahu’s government had passed a decision to bring all members of the Falash Mura in Addis Ababa and Gondar to Israel in 2015, urging the government to implement the motion.
Ethiopian-Israelis say the process for immigration approval is poorly executed and inaccurate, dividing families. At least 80 percent of Falash Mura members in Ethiopia say they have first-degree relatives living in Israel, and some have been waiting to immigrate for over 20 years.