IAEJ (The Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews) is working
hard to improve these statistics:
Media Coverage 2005
The Jerusalem Report, interview with educator Ayelet Ish-Shalom, 10/2005
The Jerusalem Report: Do you agree with Mayor Bokovza's [mayor of Or Yehuda, who
refused enrollment of Ehtiopian students into his schools] criticism of government-designed
Ayelet Ish-Shalom: What he said is true. All along, Israel
has thrown its weakest populations and its immigrants into the same neighborhoods
together. It's wrong. It perpetuates the gap between them and the rest of the
country and ensures that they will stay weak forever. It's easy to lump all the
poor people together, and that was, and is, Israeli policy - put them in apartment
blocks and forget about them. The country's slums were created in a very thorough
and well-planned way. This means that the schools in these areas are weak as well,
and the kids can't get a good education.
Still, I'm not sure that this was
the only reason behind what Bokovza said. He's right, but I'm not sure it came
from the right place. I'm sure skin color had a lot to do with it as well. A lot
of schools don't want Ethiopians. The ones that do usually want them because they
are recognized as a weak population and get extra Education Ministry funding.
Ha'aretz: Jewish Cemeteries desecrated in Ethiopia 24/10/2005
Sisa returned about a year ago for a visit to Belobokha, the village where his
family is buried, and was informed by locals that the Jewish cemetery had been
vandalized once again. It had recently been restored at a cost of some NIS 200,000,
but now some bones of the deceased were scattered and the land was being used
for agricultural purposes
When he got to the graveyard, Sisa had trouble
identifying his grandmother's grave, because the tree that had sheltered the grave
had been burned and the tombstone shattered. Broken bones were scattered in every
"The local residents believe that Jews' bones can heal medical
ailments and bring good luck, so they even trade them," he said.
The Jerusalem Post: Up Front: Letters: A better beginning 21/10/2005
to the Jerusalem Post and to Larry Derfner for his in-depth coverage of the horrific
plight of our Ethiopian manpower workers ("The black market," October
14). Having worked in Jerusalem's Har Hotzvim for the last five years I'm constantly
impressed by the dedication and perseverance of the many Ethiopians in the janitor
staff. Watching their gentle demeanor as they interact with each other and with
us is always uplifting, especially in a high-pressure, hi-tech environment. I
had tried to believe that the frequent staff turnover was a sign of their having
moved on from these entry-level jobs to better opportunities. To hear then that
they might not even be paid their already pathetically low wages, in the midst
of "hi-tech heaven," with all its attributes, was infuriating. I have
already contacted the Tebeka office to arrange a meeting with Yitzchak Dessie
as soon as possible to explore ways to help.
I believe that one way to break
this unfortunate cycle is to set up a model, reality-changing company: an Ethiopian,
employee-owned manpower enterprise - a co-op - where the staff are all vested
in the company's success and costs can be competitive by reducing margins and
working on profit-sharing incentives. I have the business background and experiences
to help them, and will be looking for funding and other help.
Today is the
day I start writing the next installment of Mr. Derfner's story. Please join me
and help make sure that "the good guys don't finish last." Let's give
this story a happy ending - or rather, these workers a better beginning.
Haaretz: Ethiopian keses demand equal wages 12/10/2005
keses and rabbis wrote this week to the Prime Minister's Office, which has been
in charge of religious services since the Religious Affairs Ministry was disbanded,
demanding that their wages be made equal to the wages of rabbis who are not of
The request was based on a government decision from 1992
that states the keses and Ethiopian rabbis are to be accepted as equal members
in the religious councils, and receive the same wage as a neighborhood and regional
rabbi, including social benefits, vehicle maintenance expenses and a pension plan.
"We are not seeking charity, but what is our due by law," said Reuben
Yaaiso, 38, the regional rabbi of Gedera and Bet Shemesh, who earns NIS 3,600
per month. "The government ministries are not treating us as required by
law. We are at the point where we have no money for a hot meal on the Sabbath
Haaretz: Off the streets and into society 7/10/2005
When Eli Malesa and
Dego Gudo met yesterday at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, they embraced for a long time.
The friendship between the two men, aged 22 and 23, began when they were homeless
on the Tel Aviv streets, committing petty crimes and theft, spending tortured
nights sleeping wherever they could lay their heads, and drifting through long
days of despair when "everything looked black and hopeless."
The two young men and 90 other immigrants from Ethiopia are taking part in the
Talam program which is being implemented in several kibbutzim (Talam is an acronym
for Employment, Studies, and Housing). The program was established seven years
ago by the Kibbutz movement and the Absorption ministry, to help youngsters who
were born in Ethiopia integrate into Israeli society and become financially independent.
Haaretz: Ethiopian law students to 'open the eyes' of Jews and Blacks in the U.S.
Ethiopian-Israeli law students are to meet with their African-America
counterparts in a new program designed to foster leadership in the Ethiopian community
here and improve Israel's image abroad.
Hamodia: Falash Mura on Hunger Strike to Demand Entry 28/9/2005
of Falash Mura in Ehtiopia have gone on a hunger strike to protest against a delay
in their relocation to Israel.
Many of the Falash Mura, or Beta-Israel as
they prefer to be called, were forcibly converted to Christianity, but they say
they can trace their roots back to the Ethiopian Jewish Community.
Mura are protesting against their "long wait" to immigrate to Israel.
Israeli officials say they will all be allowed to travel by the end of 2007.
Jerusalem Report: The Ethiopian Revolution 24/9/01
The stereotype is of
a community beset by unemployment, its youngsters failing at school, its elders
helpless. But while many Ethiopians do fit that image, a new generation of activists
is quietly inspiring a turnaround - evident in the dramatic rise of those graduating
high school and enrolling in university. Now, in partnership with American Jews
and the Israeli government, these young leaders are about to take on a still-greater
The leading force in the self-empowerment movement is the
Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jews (IAEJ), the community's advocacy and lobbying
organization. It was the IAEJ that led the successful effort in the 1990s, to
end the Ministry of Education's scandalous policy of routinely sending Ethiopian
students to vocational rather than academic schools, and to boarding schools that
were almost entirely Ethiopian.
Haaretz: Affirmative action and investment 22/9/2005
This week the Justice
Ministry announced a new affirmative action policy for Ethiopian law clerks in
the ministry. This welcome initiative relies on changes in the law that were implemented
in the last few years to allow affirmative action for women, Arabs, Ethiopian
and people will disabilities in regard to hiring and appointments in the private
There are 105,000 members of the Ethiopian community in Israel.
Of those, some 3,000 have academic degrees, and an additional 3,000 are university
Haaretz: Law firms aren't opening doors to Ethiopian attorneys
Law students and recent graduates attending the conference
described their difficulty in finding internships at legal firms. Some blamed
a stigma, while others said the problem stemmed from the fact that Ethiopians
don't have connections in the legal profession.
The Jerusalem Post: PM,
Abdullah discuss Gaza border, In meeting with US Jews, Sharon launches Operation
Sharon also met leaders of UJC/the Federations of
North America in New York to endorse and officially launch the $160 million Operation
Promise, which aims to help Ethiopian Jews and Jews in the former Soviet Union.
Sharon vowed support for Operation Promise as he gathered with nearly 100 lay
leaders and professionals from across North America who are contributing to the
initiative, which will feed poor, elderly Jews in the FSU, strengthen Jewish identity
among young FSU Jews, bring the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel and help mainstream
the entire Ethiopian-Israeli community.
Haaretz: Ethiopian community addresses
youth suicide 14/9/2005
Ethiopian leaders gathered yesterday to address suicide
among children and youths, an increasingly common problem plaguing the community.
The conference, held at Beit Hahistadrut in Tel Aviv, is the second of its kind
in the last three months.
The Jerusalem Post: Knesset panel slams Ethiopian
school policy 8/9/2005
Pushing for a new policy regarding the absorption of
Ethiopian pupils into schools, the Knesset Committee on Immigration and Absorption
announced on Wednesday that the current situation was not acceptable.
schools have a policy announcing the maximum number of Ethiopian pupils they will
enroll; we want to start a minimum policy," said a spokeswomen for MK Colette
Avital, who sits on the committee.
Avital pushed for strong school districts
to adapt a policy where they enroll a certain percentage of Ethiopian students
each year, making them a constant demographic in the school body. She specifically
mentioned high-income areas, such as Herzliya, Kfar Saba and Ra'anana for instituting
this "minimum" policy.
The Jerusalem Report: Defying Type 9/04
While many Ethiopian men in Israel
have struggled to find a balance between traditional community values and modern
demands, increasing numbers of young women are translating their mothers' strength
and determination into academic and professional excellence. Along the way, they
are becoming something Ethiopian Israelis desperately need: role models
"The younger generation of Ethiopians has come a long way, men and women,"
says Menberu Shimon, 31, a slim, thoughtful man with a goatee who is the strategic
director of the Israel Association of Ethiopian Jews, a Jerusalem-based umbrella
group. One measure is college students. In 1996, according to IAEJ statistics,
a total of 724 Ethiopians were registered at institutions of higher education,
46 percent of them women; by the past academic year that number had tripled to
2,311, with women accounting for 49 percent. (Fifty-six percent of all university
students are women.) There are Ethiopian women studying at all of Israel's universities.
The Jerusalem Post: Jewish film tops Copenhagen festival 30/8/05
and Become, the story of an Ethiopian child who is sent to Israel passing as a
Jew to save him from famine, won the best film award at the Copenhagen International
Film Festival on Saturday
Live and Become is based on an Israeli Operation
Moses, under which thousands of Jewish children were evacuated to Israel from
Ethiopia during that country's 1984 famine.
Hamodia: Aliyah Down in First Half of 2005 17/8/05
Aliyah decreased in
the first half of 2005, the Central Bureau of Statistic reported. Between January
and June, 8,120 people made aliyah, a decrease of five percent from the same period
However, aliyah from France increased in first half of the year
Ethiopian olim, too, arrived in the first half than in the same period in 2004
(1,781 and 1, 682 respectively).
The Jerusalem Post: Resident of Neve Sha'anan oppose immigrant housing 5/8/05
Several dozen residents of Neve Sha'anan have sent a letter to Mayor Yona Yahav
asking that the city not use the building it has rented at 64 Hanita Street to
house new immigrants from Ethiopia. The residents fear that a high concentration
of new immigrants in one area would reduce property values. Even before Yahav
could respond, the new immigrants moved into the building. Chairman of the neighborhood
committee, Shlomo Wahl, denied that the letter was motivated by racism but could
not explain why the residents were opposed.
Ha'aretz: NIS 3.3b needed to absorb Falashmura immigrants 1/8/05
3.3b is needed to absorb about 13,000 Falashmura immigrants from Ethiopia, according
to an Absorption Ministry plan presented yesterday to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The ministerial committee on the Falashmura convened yesterday to discuss implementing
the government's decision in February to increase the rate of their immigration
to Israel from 300 to 600 a month.
The Jerusalem Post: 1st Ethiopian deputy mayor struggles to take office 22/6/05
In what should have been recognized as both an individual and communal triumph,
Baleynesh Ayeh in April became the first Ethiopian to be voted deputy mayor of
However, Ayeh still hasn't taken over her position due to
a drawn out altercation with the mayor of the city, Moti Malka, who claims that
Ayeh's election is invalid.
Prior to the election in April, Malka and the
municipal council had agreed to select Salomon Yayo, then head of the town's Ethiopian
representative party, Hatikvah, as deputy mayor.
But in a last-minute maneuver,
Ayeh was chosen by the town's council to become one of two deputy mayors after
breaking with Yayo, the only other Hatikvah member, and gaining support from seven
other opposition members of the council.
Since then, Malka has not allowed
Ayeh to assumer her duties.
Haaretz: Gedera man kills wife, commits suicide; 'Mommy's dead,' child tells neighbor
A 37-year-old Gedera woman was stabbed to death during the night
between Thursday and Friday, apparently by her husband, who then hung himself.
Police say the couple's two children, aged 4 and 3, may have witnessed the murder.
Yated Ne'eman: Fundraising Initiative 17/6/05
The United Jewish Communities'
voted for a campaign to raise funds for Ethiopian aliya and for elderly Jews in
the former Soviet Union. The $160 million campaign will take place over several
years and is a separate and additional campaign from the federation system's annual
Katsva: 'Affirmative Action' Needed to Jump-Start Ethiopian Community Success
Israel's Ethiopian community should be helped to get ahead with
American-style "affirmative action," Presuident Moshe Katsav said at
a memorial ceremony for thousands of Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia who died
on their way to Israel during Operation Moses in the 1980s.
the government to use affirmative action and provide full support for the integration
of Ethiopian Jews in Israeli society. I wish to tell (Jewish Ethiopians), the
government should stand at your side to help you. You deserve and affirmative-action
policy," Katsav said.
The president added that affirmative action, in
which certain standards and requirements are suspended in recognition of the disadvantages
faced by the community could help "jump start" successes for the younger
generation of immigrants, despite their lower education levels and the disadvantaged
neighborhoods most community members live in.
"The first generation your
Israeli-born [children] can and must succeed," Katsav said.
Haaretz: Breaking the glass ceiling 5/6/05
The Israel Bar Association
recently called on its members to hire law student of Ethiopian origin. This is
the first initiative by a private body to assist Israelis of Ethiopian origin
to enter a progfession considered prestigious and desirable.
circles and the media, Ethiopian-Israelis are often referred to as a "ticking
social bomb." Some 105,000 people of Ethiopian origin now live here, incluiding
30,000 young people born in Israel. Born into a competitive and often cruel society,
they start out with terrible disadvantages
The glass ceiling will only
be broken if employers take the initiative. The private sector has room for more
initiatives like that of the Bar Association.
There should be affirmative
action programs in the public sector; a cabinet decision in this spirit was taken
as far back as the late '90s, but it has not been properly implemented.
action can help the Ethiopian community overcome the disadvantages it starts out
with and make it possible for its members to reach key positions in Israeli society.
Affirmative action will help defuse the social time bomb.
The Jerusalem Post: Ethiopian community stunned by teen murder 30/5/05
Considered "intelligent," "funny" and most of all "quiet"
by members of his Rehovot community, the 16-year-old Ethiopian boy, who was remanded
Sunday for the murder of Ma'ayan Sapir, 15, has set in motion a flurry of debate
about the nature of violence within the Ethiopian community
won't just be talked about as one teenager killing another," said Batia Eyob,
director of the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jewry (IAEJ). "We are talking
about an Ethiopian teenager who killed a non-Ethiopian."
said she felt awful that such a tragedy occurred, she noted that it was unfortunate
that it was "somebody outside the community who has to become a victim for
the issue to get attention."
Yated Ne'eman: Affirmative Action Bills 27/5/05
Three separate affirmative
action bills that would help boost the employment of Ethiopians, women and new
immigrants in the civil service were approved in the first reading by the Knesset.
The Jerusalem Post: Alleged racism in Arad 13/5/05
Five Ethiopian immigrant
families are demanding NIS 400,000 from the municipality of Arad and the Ministry
of Education, claiming that their children were removed form municipal kindergartens
because of their Ethiopian origin. According to reports on the Ynet Web site,
three of the children have not attended pre-school for more than five months because
of complaints that there were "too many Ethiopians in the kindergartens."
The Jerusalem Post: Exclusive: Ethiopian gov't kicks out key US Jewish aid group
In a move likely to further complicate the Ethiopian aliya effort,
Ethiopia's government has decided to bar the key US Jewish aid group serving the
Falash Mura population there from operating in the country, The Jerusalem Post
An official at Ethiopia's Justice Ministry confirmed that the
government has decided to deny NGO status to the North American Conference on
Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ), which operates aid compounds in the cities of Addis
Ababa and Gondar that provide schooling, some employment and food for about 15,000
Ethiopians awaiting aliya there.
The Jerusalem Post: Operation Moses victims honored 4/5/05
members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community gathered Tuesday morning at Mount Herzl
to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 4,000 people who died of starvation
and disease in their trek across the deserts of Sudan en route to Israel.
The memorial ceremony, which only gained official state recognition last year,
was held for the first time in its permanent home at Mount Herzl. The ceremony
concluded with the placing of the cornerstone of the monument, which is scheduled
for completion by Jerusalem Day 2006.
Haaretz: Ethiopians say they can't get into TAU, Hebrew U 25/4/05
Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University are closing their doors
to Ethiopian students, especially those wishing to study in prestigious programs,
Ethiopian activists and university graduates say.
These two universities consider
the psychometric exam as the decisive factor in accepting students, thus significantly
reducing the number of Ethiopian students compared to other universities.
Ynet: Police brutality in Israel? 14/4/05
An Israeli-Ethiopian said on
Wednesday that policemen beat him up and degraded him by calling him racist names
after searching his car for drugs. Nir Deseta, 23, said the officers called him
"a Black who not long ago was still chasing sheep in the jungle."
The Jerusalem Post: Poraz: Extend Law of Return to great-grandchildren of Jews
Shinui MK Avraham Poraz has initiated legislation to equalize
benefits the government has decided to give to Ethiopian immigrants from the Falash
Mura community by giving the Law of Return status to great-grandchildren of Jews.
Poraz said the decision of the government made on Ethiopian immigrants in which
it gave "wide interpretation" to the Law of Return, had created "discrimination"
against potential immigrants from other countries, especially from the Commonwealth
of Independent States.
Haaretz: Group of Ethiopian immigrants cram 12 years of schooling into just 6
A group of 25 Ethiopian immigrants celebrated the completion of
their high school matriculation with representatives of the Houston Jewish Federation
this week, after finishing the equivalent of 12 years of school in half that time.
The group, which immigrated here in 1999 and has since received financial backing
from the Texas community, has been studying at the Leo Baeck high school in Haifa.
They arrived without reading or writing skills, but after two years in an intensive
ulpan and another three devoted to rigorous coursework, they were able to finish
the course with complete matriculation. Some 300 members of the Texas community
arrived here for the close of the program, which was also sponsored by the Jewish
The Jerusalem Post: High Court asked to bar Ashdod principal for discriminating
against Ethiopian pupils 3/3/05
The High Court of Justice ordered the
state on Wednesday to prepare an affidavit detailing the behavior of an Ashdod
principal accused of abusing and discriminating against Ethiopian students, according
to lawyers involved in the case.
The Tebeka Center for Legal Aid and Advocacy
for Ethiopian Jews is demanding that the principal be barred from teaching and
running schools after he was twice suspended for mistreating pupils, for which
he is currently under investigation by the police. While the criminal investigation
continues, he has been allowed to resume his duties as principal of the Moriah
The incidents include his allegedly hitting a student,
forcibly removing a child from a school bus, and throwing a youngster out of school
for the day, leaving his without adult, according to Tebeka attorneys.
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