Category: "Immigration"

Jewish Agency to end mass immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel

June 26th, 2013
Ethiopian immigrants arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Photo by Nir Keidar

Ethiopian aliyah to end August 28, Jewish Agency says

Gondar compounds to be handed over to local authorities; Ethiopians wishing to immigrate to Israel after August will be considered on case-by-case basis.

The Jewish Agency is preparing to end mass aliyah from Ethiopia with two final flights consisting of 400 immigrants on August 28.

The Jewish Agency emissary to Ethiopia, Asher Seyum, made the announcement in a brief letter, saying the Jewish Agency will hand over its aid compounds in the Ethiopian city of Gondar to local authorities at the end of August.

For years, the compounds - originally established by the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and only recently taken over by the Jewish Agency - provided thousands of Ethiopians waiting to immigrate to Israel with educational, nutritional and some employment services.

Once the final flights are complete, Ethiopians wishing to immigrate to Israel will be subject to the same rules as potential immigrants from elsewhere in the world and considered on a case-by-case basis, a New York-based spokesman for the Jewish Agency told JTA.

Read More from Haaretz

Migrant voices - Ethiopians in Yemen describe kidnapping and torture

April 11th, 2013

Migrant voices - Ethiopians in Yemen describe kidnapping and torture

SANA’A, 11 April 2013 (IRIN)
- Record numbers of migrants from the Horn of Africa are crossing into Yemen, most of them on their way to find better opportunities in Saudi Arabia and other rich Gulf countries. But many do not make it any further. Seeking a new life, they end up unwitting victims of a smuggling racket designed to exploit the migrants at each juncture of their journey.

Recent years have seen Ethiopians make up the majority of these migrants: Of the 107,000 recorded migrants crossing the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden into Yemen in 2012, around 80,000 were from Ethiopia.

Four irregular migrants with diverse backgrounds, all from Ethiopia, told IRIN about their journeys to Yemen.* While their stories differ in details, they all share a similar set of experiences: brutality, broken promises and extortion.

Marta says she fled Ethiopia in 2010 when she and her family were accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a state-designated terrorist group. “The government said, ‘You are with the party of OLF,’ and chased us out of country. I don’t know where my family ended up.”

“I spent a year and a half in Djibouti, where I gave birth to my daughter. After her father disappeared, we left for Yemen. I paid a broker 10,000 Djiboutian francs [about US$55] to ride in a boat with 15 others from Djibouti to Yemen.

“Our night-time crossing of the Red Sea was calm until the end. As we neared the Yemeni coast, the owner of the boat, who was part of the smuggling operation, threw us into the sea. No one knew how to swim because in Ethiopia, we don’t have a sea, just lakes. The brokers and their thugs were waiting for us as we came ashore. They raped me and the other women. I’m 9 months pregnant with a child from that night.

“When I arrived to Sana’a, I was tired and decided to stay. For seven months, I was a house maid, but now I can’t work because of the pregnancy, so I have no income. [Ethiopian] migrants from the community in Sana’a are supporting me.

“I’m interested in tackling my problems, but at the moment I am pregnant and I am tired. All my money goes to my daughter, so this makes me tired. One day I will win.”

Read more from IRIN

Israel gave birth control to Ethiopian Jews without their consent

January 27th, 2013
Ethiopian-Israelis protesting against racism they often face in Israel Photo JP Marc Israel Sellem

Israel gave birth control to Ethiopian Jews without their consent


Source: The Independent

Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.

One of the Ethiopian women who was interviewed is quoted as saying: “They [medical staff] told us they are inoculations. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.” It is alleged that some of the women were forced or coerced to take the drug while in transit camps in Ethiopia.

The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.

Nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has been questioned by some rabbis. Last year, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio, warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Haaretz published an extract from a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to units administering the drug. Doctors were told “not to renew prescriptions for Depo Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment”.

Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”

Ethiopia: 23 Year old Ethiopian stowaway asks for asylum in Germany

November 22nd, 2012

Ethiopia: 23 Year old Ethiopian stowaway asks for Asylum in Germany

A 23-year old Ethiopian stowaway fled his homeland by hiding in the cargo section of an aircraft bound for Frankfurt. He was trapped in the cargo area for nine hours after arrival, before he was found safe and uninjured at Frankfurt airport.

reports that he has applied for asylum. The incident took place last Saturday

Explosive welcome for new Ethiopian immigrants

November 22nd, 2012

Explosive welcome for new Ethiopian immigrants

New immigrants from Ethiopia get a severe reality check mere days after their arrival in Israel as bombs fall around their absorption center. Despite the shock, they're adapting quickly and looking to pitch in.

IBBIM – The youngest members of this absorption center just outside Sderot are already well drilled in the procedures. As soon as the loudspeakers announce the Code Red missile alert with the Hebrew words Tzeva Adom, the little ones run for cover into the nearest fortified shelter and throw themselves on the ground.

This pair of words -- Tzeva Adom – is basically the extent of their Hebrew vocabulary today. These new immigrants from Ethiopia, part of the last remaining group of Falashmura to make their way here, landed in Israel just last Thursday and haven’t had a chance to learn much else.

Read more from Haaretz