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Shortly after the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews opened a missionary school, Jews tried to leave the country en masse, but many died from starvation, malaria, and beatings.

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According to Ethiopian tradition, one-half of the population was Jewish before Christianity was proclaimed the official religion in the 4th century.

Until recently Ethiopian Jews practiced animal sacrifice, and ritual purification through immersion in water.

Otherwise their religion is the same as Judaism throughout the world, including observance of the Sabbath and Biblical dietary laws.

Jews are often blamed for causing hunger, crop failure, blindness, insanity, illness, and death.

Missionaries helped to promote this idea of the evil Jew who torments Christians.

The Jews maintained their independence for over 1000 years in spite of continuous massacres, religious persecution, enslavement, and forced conversions.

With the help of modern Portuguese weapons, the Amhara finally conquered the Jews in 1616, enslaving, converting, and killing them.

However, the peasant associations in charge of distribution gave poor-quality land to Jews, and many are still without any land.

Landlords continued to demand rent payments (50 % of the crop) even after land reform, and when Jews went to court their cases were thrown out.

Known as "Falashas" - a derogatory name meaning "stranger" or "exile" - Ethiopian Jews could no longer own land or be educated.