Jerusalem, 14 March 1999

3,105 Ethiopian Immigrants in 1998

(Communicated by Interior Ministry Spokesman)

The Ministry of the Interior today (Sunday) 14.3.99, reports that as a result of the work of the special consul in Ethiopia at the Falash Moreh compound in Addis Ababa, 3,105 immigrants came to Israel in 1998, compared to 1,700 in 1997. A further 180 immigrants arrived in the first two months of 1999.

Following the cabinet decision of June 1997, the Interior Ministry decided to extend the mission of the special consul in order to examine the right to immigrate by the communities in Qwara and Gondar in accordance with the Law of Return. In addition, the ministry submitted plans to expedite the immigration procedures.

Due to the continuing conflict in northern Ethiopia and the lack of proper documentation or census records regarding the Jewish communities, the examination procedures took longer than expected, requiring examinations in both Ethiopia and in Israel. The ministry discovered fraudulent attempts to claim immigration rights, requiring the necessity of examinations of those requesting to immigrate to Israel.