Ethiopian immigration in doubt ahead of Israeli budget vote

An Israeli government official says a last-ditch attempt to approve the reunification of hundreds of families split between Israel and Ethiopia has fallen through.

The families are relying on the Cabinet to agree to fund the immigration of 8,000 Ethiopians before parliament votes on the national budget, expected this week.

The official says the government discussed the issue at its meeting Sunday but it did not vote on whether to allocate funding. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss Cabinet discussions.

Israel doesn't consider the Ethiopians Jewish, which is why they need government approval to immigrate. But the families see the issue as part of an inconsistent and discriminatory immigration policy.

The families and their supporters plan to protest outside parliament Monday.