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Israel: Commemoration of the Ethiopian Jewish Heritage

(Apr. 23, 2012) On March 21, 2012, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed the Center of Ethiopian Jewish Heritage Law, 5762-2012 (the Law). According to the Law, the Center will include a research institute as well as an archive. The Center will collect and document research activities on Ethiopian Jewish Heritage, among other activities. It will be established as a corporation and will be subject to an audit in accordance with the State Comptroller Law (Consolidated Version), as amended.

According to the Law, the Center will be managed by a committee that will include representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Ministry of Immigration Absorption, and the Ministry of Education, plus an archivist, three members of academia with expertise in the activities of the Center, and five public representatives. The Law requires that at least one-third of the committee members be Ethiopian immigrants or their offspring. The committee will determine the Center's general policy, approve its budget and annual plans, and supervise its activities.

The research institute established by the Center will operate a research library that will specialize in and publish studies on the history, religion, law, and culture of Ethiopian Jewry. The Law further provides for the establishment of an archive for the preservation of materials directly related to the heritage of Ethiopian Jewry.

The Center and its activities will be funded by the state as well as by donations and any income it receives. The rules for admission and conditions of employment of the Center's employees will be identical to those of civil servants in similar jobs, subject to some adjustments as determined by the Minister of the Treasury. (Center of Ethiopian Jewish Heritage Law, 5762-2012 & bill [p. 476] [both in Hebrew], the Knesset website (both last visited Apr. 11, 2012); State Comptroller Law (Consolidated Version), as amended, 12 LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL 107 (5718-1957/58), as amended).)