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November 3, 2021 1:02 pm
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Israel’s Minister of Aliyah Tamano-Shata Asks PM to Fast-Track Evacuation of Ethiopian Jews as Civil War Escalates

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog (center) and Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata welcome 119 Ethiopian immigrants to Israel, May 21, 2020. Photo: Shlomi Amsalem.

Israel’s Minister of Aliyah Pnina Tamano-Shata sent an official letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asking him to expedite the immigration of Ethiopian Jews currently waiting to be brought to Israel, in light of the escalating civil war in the African country.

Israeli news site Walla reported Tuesday that Tamano-Shata said the prospective immigrants are located in Addis Ababa and Gondar, and are in serious danger due to the deteriorating security situation. The country’s military has lost several recent battles to Tigray rebels, who are threatening to storm the capital, and a state of emergency has been declared.

“The precarious security situation directly affects the members of the community waiting in Ethiopia, endangering their lives and demanding immediate government action to quickly bring them on aliya,” Tamano-Shata wrote.

The majority of the Jews waiting to be evacuated are members of the Falash Mura community, and already have family members in Israel.

She also said that Jews living in the northern Tigray region are suffering persecution due to their faith, and that chances are high that the security situation there will further deteriorate.

“Their families in Israel are finding it difficult to communicate with them and help them economically in this difficult hour of crisis,” she said. “Every day of waiting is likely to exact a high cost in lives from the Jewish community in Ethiopia.”

According to Walla, a senior Israeli source confirmed that consultations have taken place in recent days between multiple government ministries, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office and the security services, on the situation in Ethiopia. Thus far, however, they have not taken place at the prime ministerial level.

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