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8,000 Ethiopians Will Emigrate to Israel

Members of the Falash Mura, Ethiopians who returned to Judaism after their ancestors converted to Christianity to escape persecution at the end of the 19th century, arrive at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel (File Photo)

The Israeli government has decided to allow 8,000 Ethiopians who claim Jewish descent to enter the country.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in remarks to his Cabinet Sunday, spoke of a "humanitarian crisis" and a "moral commitment" to help members of a group known as the Falash Mura. They are Ethiopians who say they were forced to convert to Christianity.

Mr. Netanyahu said the Falash Mura will be brought to Israel in stages over the next three years. They will then need to convert before being granted Israeli citizenship.

Some 100,000 Ethiopian Jews now live in Israel. They came to the country during the 1980s and 1990s under the Law of Return, which provides Israeli citizenship to all Jews.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.