"We would like to bring all Falashas to Israel beginning next week. We believe they should live in Israel," Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters on Thursday at the end of a two-day visit.
He was referring to the Falasha Mura or members of Ethiopia's small Jewish community. Thousands moved to Israel in 1984, fleeing hunger and political turmoil, and in 1991 at the end of Ethiopia's civil war.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, speaking alongside Shalom, said while Ethiopian Jews had the right to go anywhere in the world the Ethiopian government would not want the departures this time to take the form of a mass exodus.
Shalom toured the northern region of Gondar on Wednesday, the home region of the Falasha Mura, many of whom were forced to convert to Christianity in the 19th century and now wish to assert their Jewishness and emigrate to Israel.
Since 1991, few Ethiopian Jews have left the country except relatives of those who have already emigrated.
In February 2003, Ethiopia blocked a plan by Israel to move the Falasha Mura to Israel, arguing a mass migration was unnecessary when everyone was free to leave Ethiopia in the