Sudan–Israel agreement; Ethiopian Jews "coming home": Israel Update
October 16, 2020
Sudan has reportedly decided to normalize ties with Israel, after the US issued a 24-hour ultimatum stipulating that Sudan must recognize Israel to get removed from a US blacklist. In addition to potentially taking Sudan off the list of states that sponsor terrorism, the US offer could increase aid to Sudan, help facilitate private investment in Sudan, remove Sudan from a list of travel ban countries, establish an investment conference in the country, and forgive billions of dollars of Sudanese debt owed to the US. A former Sudanese MP told The Times of Israel that he is attempting to organizea civilian delegation of Sudanese citizens to visit Israel in an effort to accelerate the normalization process.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of his intention to "immediately" allow entry for some 2,000 Ethiopian Jews. Netanyahu’s office said the decision stemmed from the prime minister's "commitment to the continued aliyah of Jews to Israel.” Roughly 13,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Ethiopia, but the vast majority want to come to Israel. Many of these Ethiopian Jews live in dire conditions and have threatened mass hunger strikes if they’re not allowed to travel to their “homeland.” Israel’s Law of Return entitles all Jews the right of Israeli citizenship, but the return of Falash Mura—Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity a century ago—has made the law a subject of contention.