Ethiopian Jews ‘to be moved soon’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government is still committed to reuniting thousands of Ethiopian Jews with their families who are now in Israel.

At least 9,000 Ethiopians who claim Jewish ancestry are waiting to immigrate to Israel, after years of waiting.

Speaking at a joint press briefing with his Ethiopian counterpart, he said the exercise would be conducted soon, though he failed to outline any clear timelines:

On bringing to Israel members of the [Ethiopian Jewish] community that are still here, we are doing so, we have a commitment, we are fulfilling it on a humanitarian level of family reunification, it will not happen in the future it will happen now under the current budget – we are committed to a certain programme and we are advancing it.”

At least 130,000 Ethiopian Jews are now living in Israeli since the first airlift begun in 1984.

Israeli government has come under intense criticism for its alleged failure to absorb and fully integrate the Ethiopian Jews into Israeli society.

Over the past months, hundreds of Ethiopian Jews have taken to the streets in Israel part in protests that have turned violent, alleging racism.

During the meeting, Mr Netanyahu also called for closer co-operation between Israel and Africa in tackling terrorism and boosting trade ties.

Two bilateral agreements to improve agriculture and information technology were also signed.

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