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February 8, 2019 4:23 pm

BBC Ignores Important Developments on Ethiopian Jews in Israel

avatar by Hadar Sela

Opinion

Ethiopian Jews are greeted by family members as they arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, June 2017. Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash90.

Nearly five years ago, a filmed report titled “Ethiopia’s Jewish community divided“ was broadcast on BBC World News television and promoted on the Middle East and Africa pages of the BBC News website:

As Jewish people around the world marked the festival of Passover, thousands of Jews living in northern Ethiopia, did not have much to celebrate.

Many have been left disappointed by an Israeli government decision to end a 30-year-old programme that saw tens thousands of Ethiopian Jews airlifted to the Holy Land.

And many families are grappling with being separated from their loved ones, as Focus on Africa’s Emmanuel Igunza found out in the north-western city of Gondar.

As was noted here at the time, the BBC’s correspondent left out some very critical details in his story about “the last Jews of Ethiopia” — the most obvious one being that the Falash Mura are Christians whose Jewish ancestors were converted by Western missionaries at the end of the 19th century.

BBC audiences have not seen any follow-up reporting on that story, despite the fact that following a 2015 change in government policy, 1,300 Falash Mura immigrated to Israel in 2017. In October 2018, the Israeli cabinet authorized a plan to bring a further 1,000 members of the community to Israel — and the first group arrived this week.

The first 83 immigrants from Ethiopia, out of a total of some 1,000 approved last year for entry into Israel, arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday night after waiting in Gondar for an average of 15 years.

In October, the government approved for immigration 1,000 members of the Falash Mura community in Ethiopia who have children currently living in Israel. […]

The immigrants were welcomed by Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog and Aliyah and Integration Minister Yoav Galant, as well as by several well-wishers, including a delegation from the Jewish Federation of Chicago.

The BBC has to date not found those developments worth reporting.

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