Jewish Agency to end Ethiopian aliyah

The Jewish Agency is preparing to end mass aliyah from Ethiopia with two final flights consisting of 400 immigrants on Aug. 28.

The Jewish Agency emissary to Ethiopia, Asher Seyum, made the announcement in a brief letter, saying the Jewish Agency will hand over its aid compounds in the Ethiopian city of Gondar to local authorities at the end of August.

For years the compounds — established by the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and only recently taken over by the Jewish Agency — provided thousands of Ethiopians waiting to immigrate to Israel with educational, nutritional and some employment services.

Once the final flights are complete, Ethiopians wishing to immigrate to Israel will be subject to the same rules as potential immigrants from elsewhere in the world and considered on a case-by-case basis, according to a spokesman for the Jewish Agency.

A steady trickle of approximately 200 Ethiopian immigrants per month has been coming to Israel since 2010.

The Israeli government has declared an official end to mass Ethiopian immigration several times. Each time, however, aliyah from Ethiopia resumed after pressure by advocates. — jta