Nitzan Hafner, Left behind, from PRIVATE 47 – ISRAEL[T]he story of the Falashmura is a story about a dual tragedy. Families are torn between Israel and Ethiopia and face difficulties in their absorption into Israeli society due to cultural gaps. About 8,700 members of the community who are still in Gondar (northern Ethiopia) are persecuted and live in intolerable conditions. They are supported by organizations and volunteers, who assist in the compound’s operation. The compound comprises of a synagogue, a ‘mikveh’ (ritual bath), and a feeding center for children under 6, pregnant and nursing mothers and the school, where students learn Hebrew as a part of their preparation before migrating to Israel.
During the summer of 2008 a protest against the announcement of the ‘end of the Falashmura immigration’ took place in Jerusalem outside the Prime Minister’s office. The protesters held pictures of their parents, children, siblings and relatives who are still in Ethiopia. Roads were blocked and several protesters were arrested by the police. As of today, the Interior Ministry has sent representatives to check the entitlement of the thousands that are still waiting. 1,500 were found to be entitled to migrate. It seems that it’s time for the families to dry their tears.