IAEJ's Education Initiative promote the educational
and social advancement of Ethiopian students in
the Israeli educational system.
Education represent the
most important issue IAEJ deals with and many
challenges remain. Compared to the overall Israeli
population, academic performance of Ethiopian
youth is very poor. Recent Ministry of Education
statistics indicated a failure to integrate and
absorb Ethiopian students in the educational system:
IAEJ's Education Initiative
priority issues include:
- Only 1/3 of Ethiopian
students in elementary and middle school receive
grades at or above the national average.
- Approximately 40% of Ethiopian
students grades 1-9 cannot read or write at
their grade level.
- 6.2% of Ethiopian
students aged 14-17 dropout, as opposed to 3.5%
in the general population.
- More than 3% of Ethiopian
students are in special education.
- 32% of Ethiopian students
(as opposed to 50% in the general population)
are eligible for matriculation exams for higher
education each year.
- Over the past four years
there was no substantial increase in the numbers
of Ethiopian students in higher education -
Approximately 1,000 on average yearly and approximately
1,000 on average in preparatory courses.
- There is a significantly
higher rate of crime and at-risk behavior among
- Revising the criteria for
tracking Ethiopian students in Special Education.
- Advancing the social integration
and participation of Ethiopian students in existing
educational enrichment programs.
- Improving the academic
performance of Ethiopian students and reducing
the gaps that exist between Ethiopian and other
- Decreasing the percentage
of Ethiopian student drop-outs.
- Decreasing rates of crime,
drug-use and other at-risk behavior among Ethiopian
- Increasing the number
of Ethiopian students in higher education programs
related to professional fields for which there
is a demand in the Israeli labor market.
IAEJ's Community Empowerment Project
works to form of a network of active and efficient
grassroots Ethiopian non-profit organizations,
working for positive changes in education and
employment policies and programs for Ethiopian
Over the past year IAEJ has provided vital information,
guidance, and practical tools enabling local Ethiopian
groups and activists in five Israeli cities to
more effectively organize and advocate on behalf
of their communities.
Some of these organizations actively enlisted
IAEJ to help them resolve their conflicts. Others
were approached by the IAEJ as problems in their
locales came to IAEJ's attention. Through contact,
coordination, seminars and workshops, IAEJ helped
bridge conflicts, develop cooperation and advance
the activities of eleven grassroots Ethiopian
IAEJ Community Empowerment
advances improved education and employment progamming
in partnership with grassroots Ethiopian organizations
- Supporting local organizations
in organizing, attaining resources, implementing
activities and strengthening their positions
in their communities.
- Coordinating efforts of
- Focusing organizational
priorities on education and employment issues
locally, regionally and nationally.
- Assisting local organizations
in involving their communities in pro-education
and employment activities.
- Providing local Ethiopian
organizations and communities with detailed
information about educational and employment
rights, entitlements and programs.
- Explaining and Disseminating
relevant information to local organizations
and communities regarding national initiatives
for Ethiopian immigrants in Israel.
- Ensuring grassroots Ethiopian
participation in national initiative planning
IAEJ's Employment Initiative promotes governmental
policy and programming changes to more fully integrate
Ethiopian immigrants into the Israeli labor market,
and to reduce unemployment and poverty within the
A central problem facing Ethiopians in Israel is
the dangerously high unemployment rate facing the
community. In contrast to ongoing advocacy efforts
with regards to other issues such as education,
solutions to this critical situation have not been
actively formulated or pursued by policy makers
and government ministries to date. The most recent
available research on the matter indicates that:
- 47% of Ethiopian adults,
ages 25 - 54 do not participate in the Israeli
labor market in any form, as opposed to 24%
of other Israelis of the same age group.
- Only 38% of Ethiopian
women ages 25 - 54 are in the labor market,
as opposed to 68% of other Israeli women of
the same age group.
- More than 90% of Ethiopian
immigrants, who are employed, work in low-paying
manual labor and minimum wage positions.
- 62% of Ethiopian families
have no income at all.
- 72% of Ethiopian children
live in households below the poverty line.
- The majority of Ethiopian
immigrants with professional degrees and/or
degrees of higher education are unable to find
work in their fields.
IAEJ's Employment Initiative
explore new methods for solving short term problems
and enacting long term changes. IAEJ works closely
with a number of social justice organizations,
municipal offices, government ministries, and
other concerned bodies.
IAEJ's new Media Project empowers the Ethiopian
community to represent itself via the Israeli media
- Increased placement of
Ethiopian immigrants qualified for positions
within the Israeli print, radio and television
- Balance in the Israeli
media's portrayal of the Ethiopian Jewish community.
A vital part of generating
a balanced portrayal of the Ethiopian community
in Israel is the introduction of Ethiopian faces
and voices within the media.
Such visibility provides positive and respected
public representation of the Ethiopian community.
Ethiopians placed thus may also be in position
to counter the media's natural dramatic tendency
to focus on the negative when dealing with immigrant
The danger of dramatic negative media portrayal
is twofold. It is a primary factor in determining
public perceptions of Ethiopian Israelis. It also
generates negative self-image, low self-esteem
and negative reactions within the Ethiopian community
itself - particularly among youths and young adults.
IAEJ's Project recognizes that it is as
important to focus on the progress being made,
as it is to highlight the problems still remaining.
This is especially true given the point in its
absorption process at which the community now
finds itself. More than ten years have passed
since the first large immigration and the balance
between advances and obstacles are shifting. The
images and perceptions that comes to define the
community at this time, both internally and externally,
will play an important role in what the future
* IAEJ Media Watchdog Project is being
conducted in partnership with HIAS Israel.
Kav HaOfek - IAEJ's Quarterly
KAV HA'OFEK ( HORIZON
) - A Quarterly IAEJ Magazine Dedicated
to Ethiopian Immigrant Issues
is a 16 page, full-color magazine published every
3 months in Hebrew by IAEJ to raise awareness
and provide perspective on the various issues
facing Ethiopian immigrants in Israel to policy
makers, social justice organizations, and the
Ethiopian activist community.
The magazine is halfway through
its first year of publication, and is an integral
part of IAEJ's struggle to increase public understanding
of the Ethiopian community, its needs, and its
Kav Ha'ofek also serves as an
important conduit for channeling information to
decision makers, government officials, non-profit
organizations and other parties with the interest
and influence to positively affect policy and
programming for Ethiopians in Israel.
provides a unique perspective on how policy and
programming initiatives affect individuals and
communal affairs, the effects of national budgetary
and security concerns on day-to-day Ethiopian
immigrant life, and basic current affairs within
the Ethiopian community in Israel.
The magazine invites policy makers and others
to an intimate encounter with the lives of Ethiopian
immigrants, their struggles, and their steady
integration into Israeli society.