Police, protesters clash near Israeli Embassy in Ethiopia

March 30, 2011 –

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Dozens were injured and arrested at a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Some 80 demonstrators claiming Jewish heritage were arrested and about the same number were injured as they protested outside the embassy demanding the right to immigrate to Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Local police attempted to break up the demonstration, which did not have a proper permit, reportedly leading to the violence.

Reuters reported that some 500 members of the Association of Ethiopian Jews in Addis Ababa had gathered at a nearby makeshift synagogue to begin protesting when they were raided by police. The Associated Press reported that 2,000 members of the Beta Israel Association had gathered near the Israeli Embassy when they were attacked by police.

More than 100,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, most brought in the 1980s and 1990s.

Israel’s Cabinet in November 2010 approved a plan to bring about 8,000 more Ethiopians with a Jewish background, known as Falash Mura, to Israel over the next four years.

The Cabinet’s approval came as aid groups involved with Ethiopian aliyah reached an agreement under which mass Ethiopian aliyah would end once the 8,000 Ethiopians are brought to the Jewish state. They began arriving in February and will continue at a rate of about 200 a month.

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