Seeman, Don. “Jewish Ethiopian Israelis.” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism Chichester: Wiley, 2016.
Ethiopian Jews are the descendants of an ethnic and religious community known as Beta Israel or Falasha. Historically concentrated in the highlands of northern Ethiopia (Gondar and Tigre) they were in some cases denied the right to hold land unless they converted to Christianity. In modern times, intense Christian missionary efforts paradoxically helped to bring Ethiopian Jews into closer contact with foreign Jewish communities. In the past half-century nearly the whole Ethiopian Jewish community has migrated to Israel, where they have faced significant challenges and opportunities. Questions about their status under Jewish law have led to political conflicts of various kinds. In addition, the most recent groups of immigrants includes many whose ancestors converted to Christianity but have sought to return to Judaism in the context of migrating to Israel. The community has integrated into Israeli life but has also simultaneously taken its place as part of the global Ethiopian cultural diaspora.