(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this morning (Sunday), 31 July 2005, convened a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the Immigration of the Falashmura.

The Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Africa briefed ministers on the ongoing contacts with the Ethiopian government in order to sign a document that will allow the Falashmura to leave Ethiopia. The Deputy Director-General of the Immigration Absorption Ministry, who chairs the inter-ministerial team on the immigration and absorption of the Falashmura, briefed ministers on the preparatory actions being carried out by the various ministries. The Jewish Agency Director-General informed ministers that the Agency had completed preparatory work and was ready for increased activity in Ethiopia as soon as an agreement is signed with the Ethiopian government.

Prime Minister Sharon instructed the Foreign Ministry representatives to accelerate contacts with the Ethiopian government in order to assure that the number of Falashmura arriving from Ethiopia doubles as soon as possible. He also instructed the Interior Ministry to finish checking the eligibility of the Falashmura by the end of the year in order to arrive at the final number of those eligible.