Although the cabinet decided a year ago to bring the last of the Falashmura from Ethiopia to Israel at a rate of 200 a month, an interministerial committee with responsibility for the operation has decided to reduce the rate to 110 a month.
There are currently more than 4,500 Falashmura - descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity - who have registered to immigrate to Israel and are waiting in a refugee camp in Ethiopia's Gondar province. According to a report by a parliamentary delegation from Israel that visited the camp in September, conditions for the prospective immigrants are harsh.
Haaretz has learned, however, that the Jewish Agency, which operates the absorption centers in Israel, currently has available space for about 800 immigrants. Several absorption centers are closed completely. The Finance Ministry, for its part, said the committee decision to curtail the immigration was unanimous and that incentives have been provided to help Falashmura currently in absorption centers to find permanent housing and thereby free space in the absorption centers.