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Ethiopian Jews could be 'left out' of Israeli budget Open in fullscreen

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Ethiopian Jews could be 'left out' of Israeli budget

Ethiopian JEws have long been at the receiving end of discrimination in Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 March, 2018

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Ethiopian Jews have been left uncertain whether they will reunite with their families in Israel after a scheduled vote on the issue was neglected ahead of the 2019 budget
A vote by Israel's government to approve the immigration of thousands of Ethiopians did not occur Sunday, a government official said, casting doubt on an attempt to reunite hundreds of families split between the two countries.

The families need the Cabinet to agree to fund the immigration of 8,000 Ethiopians before parliament votes on the national budget, expected this week.

Israel - accused of rampant anti-black racism - doesn't consider the Ethiopians Jewish, which is why they need government approval to immigrate.

The official said the government discussed the issue but didn't vote on it. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss Cabinet deliberations.

Alisa Bodner, an activist with a group pushing for the immigration, said that "as of now, the issue of Ethiopian immigration is not in the budget." She said the issue was delayed to another meeting, but it was not clear whether it could still be included in the 2019 budget.

The families see the issue as part of an inconsistent and discriminatory immigration policy and they and their supporters plan to protest outside parliament Monday.

Earlier this month Ethiopian Jews in Addis Ababa threatened a mass hunger strike in response to Israel's proposed budget cut that would see them unable to reunite with their families in Israel.

The Israeli government came under particular fire for racist anti-black legislation after announcing its intention to deport African migrants from the country. In January, it was reported that in the past five years, over a third of the African refugee community has been expelled from Israel.

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