Tuesday, February 01, 2005

falasha mura

So Israel is speeding up the Falasha Mura (Jewish Ethiopians) immigration from Ethiopia. The goal is to get the remaining 20,000 out by 2007. The Winer Foundation has been campaigning for this for a long time, in association with several Falasha Mura / Beta Yisrael emigrants. These folks are Jews who trace their lineage back to Jews who accompanied the Queen of Sheba back to Ethiopia after her visit to Solomon. These converted to Coptic Christianity but remained separate from surrounding Ethiopian culture. The "ritual conversion to Judaism" that these folks undergo after arrival in Israel is interesting, since it means that the government considers them converts to Christianity. Whereas they don't believe they ever stopped being Jewish. Does 20,000 really make up all the rest of them I wonder?