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IAEJ Education Initiative
IAEJ Community Empowerment
IAEJ Employment Initiative
IAEJ Media Project
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IAEJ Education Initiative
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:

  • 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 Ethiopian youth.
IAEJ's Education Initiative priority issues include:
  • 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 Israeli students.
  • Decreasing the percentage of Ethiopian student drop-outs.
  • Decreasing rates of crime, drug-use and other at-risk behavior among Ethiopian youth.
  • 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 Community Empowerment
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 immigrants.
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 Jewish organizations.

IAEJ Community Empowerment advances improved education and employment progamming in partnership with grassroots Ethiopian organizations by:

  1. Supporting local organizations in organizing, attaining resources, implementing activities and strengthening their positions in their communities.
  2. Coordinating efforts of various groups.
  3. Focusing organizational priorities on education and employment issues locally, regionally and nationally.
  4. Assisting local organizations in involving their communities in pro-education and employment activities.
  5. Providing local Ethiopian organizations and communities with detailed information about educational and employment rights, entitlements and programs.
  6. Explaining and Disseminating relevant information to local organizations and communities regarding national initiatives for Ethiopian immigrants in Israel.
  7. Ensuring grassroots Ethiopian participation in national initiative planning and implementation.

IAEJ Employment Initiative
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 community.

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 Media Project
IAEJ's new Media Project empowers the Ethiopian community to represent itself via the Israeli media via:
  • Increased placement of Ethiopian immigrants qualified for positions within the Israeli print, radio and television media fields.
  • 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 populations.
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 will bring.
* IAEJ Media Watchdog Project is being conducted in partnership with HIAS Israel.

Kav HaOfek - IAEJ's Quarterly Magazine

KAV HA'OFEK ( HORIZON ) - A Quarterly IAEJ Magazine Dedicated to Ethiopian Immigrant Issues

Kav Ha'ofek 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 desires.
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.

Kav Ha'ofek, 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.

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