More than 300 Ethiopian Jews landed in Israel on Thursday – the first wave of 2,000 members of the Falash Mura community that the government approved for immigration amid controversy in the Jewish state. The new immigrants arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight to a festive ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport, where many of them waved flags and kissed the ground as Hebrew songs blared over loudspeakers. Although the Ethiopians are of Jewish descent and many practice the religion, Israel does not consider them Jewish under religious law. Instead, they were allowed to enter the country under a family-unification program that requires special government approval. The Falash Mura are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity — many under duress – during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Israeli government originally approved about 9,000 claimants in 2015 but then rescinded the decision the following year, citing budgetary constraints.
SOURCE: NEW YORK POST