There's also a surprising claim in a story by DebkaFile, an Israeli military intelligence site, that "Israel and the Tigrayans have engaged in contacts in the past".
We're left wondering, is there an innocent explanation for why Israel secretly evacuated 61 people from Tigray?
Over the past four decades, Israel has evacuated ~100K Ethiopian Jews known as the Beta Israel and the Falash Mura.
Today, the Beta Israel have all migrated out of Ethiopia while ~14K Falash Mura remain in Addis, Gonder, and Tigray awaiting immigration to Israel.
These members live in Jewish Agency compounds in Ethiopia which include a synagogue, schools, and pre-immigration preparation.
2000 Falash Mura have left Ethiopia over the past year and just recently an additional $46 million was earmarked by Israel to bring 3000 more.
It's not clear why Israel didn't vet the Jewish identity of the 61 individuals while they were in Ethiopia rather than after they arrived in Israel.
It also seems unlikely that Ethiopian officials vetted the group for any indication of criminality.
An Israeli official asserts that PM Bennet "received the decision about the immigration operation as done and dusted" from the outgoing PM Netanyahu.
Regardless of who made the call, what's clear is that "61 Tigres" were brought to Israel instead of Falash Mura Jews.
This story leaves us with more questions than answers and the identity of the individuals remains a mystery.
But, before looking into the outstanding questions, here's what we know so far:
(1) Individuals on Ethiopia's most wanted list are part of a group evacuated out of Tigray by the Israeli government.
(2) Israel's own immigration agency accuses the Bennet admin of a "conspiracy".
(3) An individual named "Saraka Seyoum" engaged in massive immigration fraud.
How did Seyoum manage to get the ear of the Netanyahu admin?
Is he the informant who tipped them about the imminent danger of Jews in Tigray?
What businesses does he have in Tigray?
Will Ethiopia verify his business dealings?
Will he be held accountable by Israel?
Does he exist or is he a front-man concealing a more nefarious reason?
For what it's worth, there are no public records for this individual.
A quick Google search returns just seven results all related to this story of the evacuation.
Following the PM's phone call, The Times of Israel reported that Israel has pledged to send back some individuals under the condition that it would first have to verify that they're indeed war criminals.
It's possible the two sides may have resolved the issue behind the scenes.
But it's hard to have confidence in Israel's attempts to verify these charges after its failure to verify that "61 Tigres" are not Falash Mura Jews.
So, we agree with the Population Authority's conclusion that "more remains concealed than revealed" about this operation.
On February 2 2022 an Israeli High Court has halted the immigration of 3000 Falasha Jews due to a lawsuit from an Israeli organization that has challenged the process of immigration to Israel saying most individuals are on "unsupervised lists" and their Jewishness is not vetted until they arrive to Israel.