If a change in policy does not occur soon, the Falashmura aliyah from Ethiopia will be officially halted next month. In the meantime, however, 8,700 members of the denomination wait in total lack of certainty while practicing the Jewish faith in the designated camp in the Gundar area of their home country.
According to a decision made by the government in 2003, all members of the Falashmura denomination who stand up to halachic criteria are permitted to make aliyah. This decision was backed by the head rabbis of Israel, who determined that these members should be brought to Israel in order to undergo conversion.
The Interior Ministry verified the eligibility of those interested and brought 15,000 immigrants to Israel over the past few years. Currently the ministry is refusing to check whether or not 8,700 more members of the Falashmura denomination could be added to the list, and these members await their fate in the camp built for them in Gundar by a Jewish-American organization.
According to these members, the Interior Ministry has excluded a list of residents from certain Ethiopian villages, despite their inclusion in the list handed to the ministry in 1999.
A number of appeals have been submitted to the High Court of Justice by family members awaiting the arrival of their loved ones, and consequently the court recommended that 1400 others be permitted to come to Israel; however the State has so far neglected to accept this recommendation. Thus the fate of those waiting in Ethiopia remains as yet undetermined.