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Israel State Comptroller Publishes Report on Integration of Ethiopian Jews, May 8 2013
Applauds the Israel State Comptroller's Report on the Integration of Ethiopian
Jerusalem, May 9th, 2013
The Israel State Comptroller published its report yesterday, May 8th 2013, on the integration of Ethiopian-Israeli immigrants, coinciding with the state Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews who perished making the journey from Ethiopia to Jerusalem through Sudan. The report, entitled “Perspectives on Promoting Integration of Ethiopian Immigrants – Substantial Flaws in the Management of a National Program," offered a comprehensive review of absorption efforts in the realms of education, army service, employment and housing.
Among the report’s central findings was a lack of investment in the Ethiopian National Project, which was created with the intention to advance Ethiopian-Israeli integration: ENP received on average only 8% of its planned budget on an annual basis since 2005. The report noted that the Ethiopian National Project was created to serve as the convening body to coordinate effective investment in the Ethiopian-Israeli community, but due to the lack of investment in ENP, was not able to carry out this role as was intended. Instead, ENP implemented programs to advance the integration of a segment of the population only: its teenagers, the report noting also that lack of funding of ENP prevented full inclusion even of this age bracket.
The Comptroller’s report was prepared following a request by the Ministry of Finance after a conference ENP convened in December 2011, attended by the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries of Education, Immigration and Finance, non-profit organizations and Federation representatives, where ENP brought to light the serious lack of coordination and oversight of various initiatives intended to aid the community. ENP’s mapping included statistics of after-school scholastic assistance programs for Ethiopian-Israeli children and youth nationwide. The mapping revealed concentrations of efforts in certain cities and negligible efforts in others, with, in some cities, reported participation numbers even exceeding the numbers of the census age bracket in those cities. ENP’s findings revealed the necessity for greater coordination and oversight of the various scholastic efforts for the Ethiopian-Israeli community.
In the component of the Comptroller’s report dealing with education, the report addressed the role of the Ministries of Immigration and Education, the performance of a number of non-profit organizations, the governmental national Five-Year plan, and the Ethiopian National Project. ENP’s performance in this area was also reviewed.
The report concluded with its recommendation of the need for effective, coordinated and supervised management of the large investment of funds in the Ethiopian-Israeli community, which will prevent wastage of funds and ensure more effective programming, thereby enabling both the Government of Israel and Diaspora Jewry to lessen the gaps in the most effective way.
The Ethiopian National Project was created by a Government of Israel decision in 2001 announcing a partnership between Diaspora Jewry and the Government of Israel in an effort to ensure the full and successful absorption of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. A subsequent workgroup consisting of partners from major agencies (JAFI, JDC), governmental ministries and representatives of Ethiopian-Israeli Jewish organizations mapped out an initial work plan requiring an investment of $660 million over a nine year period with interventions in four major areas of need: education, employment, housing and community-building. A campaign was then launched by the United Jewish Communities (UJC, today, Jewish Federations of North America, JFNA) to raise $330 million which was to be matched by the Government of Israel. In fact, UJC raised a fraction of this sum between the years 2002 and 2004. Subsequently, following mappings and consultations with the Ethiopian-Israeli community itself, ENP launched instead a targeted effort of city-wide interventions for Ethiopian-Israeli teenagers, parents and leaders. Since 2005, these programs have been successfully carried out with the full participation of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, with external evaluations that have revealed the programs’ impact.
The Ethiopian National Project applauds the Comptroller’s report and looks forward to playing a key role in efforts to ensure the fullest and most effective investment in Ethiopian-Israelis. ENP will provide further updates on developments as a result of the publication of this report.
For the full State Comptrollers Report (Hebrew only) : Perspectives on Promoting Integration of Ethiopian Immigrants – Substantial Flaws in the Management of a National Plan