Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver will make her maiden voyage to Ethiopia on Saturday night, where she will be the first minister of immigrant absorption to visit the East African country and grapple with the ongoing aliya controversy surrounding the Falash Mura community, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
In an interview with the Post before her departure, Landver said that she wanted to see the situation on the ground for herself and “formulate a professional opinion.”
“Once I have seen what is going on, then I will be better equipped to sit with the prime minister and discuss what the goal of the Israeli government is regarding this aliya and what exactly should be done,” she said. “I have already sat with many organizations that either advocate for or against this aliya, with Kessim [Ethiopian spiritual leaders] and many more experts. I just want to create my own opinion on this complicated topic.”
Landver said that the outcome of her visit could possibly result in a clearer government policy regarding the eligibility of some 8,700 Falash Mura – Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity more than a century ago – to make aliya, and the role of the state in verifying whether they had the right to do so under the Law of Entry.
update July 12: The overwhelming majority of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party supports the continued aliya of the Falash Mura community from Ethiopia and a lesser majority believes that delays to their immigration over the past few years stem from discrimination and racism, according to a report received by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
… Some 93 percent out of 600 Likud members questioned for the telephone survey last Wednesday and Thursday agreed with the statement that those waiting in Ethiopia to make aliya should be brought to Israel.
In addition, 62% of those who responded said they believed that delays to the aliya of the Falash Mura stemmed from racism and discrimination by those in decision making positions of the current government.