Israeli Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said on Wednesday that as many as 90,000 new immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel over the next 18 months.

Speaking to the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, Tamano-Shata also spoke about the need to bring to Israel the remaining Falash Mura, stuck in Ethiopia awaiting formal permission to immigrate.

“We will end the camps in Ethiopia, we will bring those waiting in Ethiopia,” said the minister, who was born in Ethiopia and arrived in Israel at the age of 3. “This needs to be a national priority,” she added.

The Falash Mura are the descendants of Ethiopian Jews, otherwise known as Beta Israel, who were forcibly converted to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries. Currently, about 8,000 members of this community remain in Ethiopia, although the Israeli government has promised in the past to bring them to Israel.

In the past few years, the average number of annual immigrants to Israel has been about 30,000. Tamano-Shata’s figure would present a significant increase.

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