When they arrived in Israel, most Ethiopian
immigrants had no formal education and could not even read or write their
native language, Amharic. The severity of this transnational culture shock
cannot be underestimated. In many instances, Ethiopian immigrants have been
forced to acclimate to technological and informational differences that have
separated them from the rest of the Israeli community for hundreds of years. In
addition to adjusting to life in a developed and technologically advanced society,
Ethiopian immigrants must acculturate to an unfamiliar climate, a new language,
and foreign religious rituals and social customs. This influx of Ethiopian Jews
to Israel has given way to major issues. One of the greatest challenges has
been determining how this group can integrate itself into Israeli society, and
correspondingly, determining how this community of Jews can adapt to major
cultural and social differences that accompany their relocation.
The Central Bureau of
Statistics in Israel released a report on November 19, 2014 regarding the
- Approximately 135,500 Ethiopian immigrants are living in Israel
today. Of these,
49,600 were born in Israel.
average household size in the Ethiopian community was 4.4 persons, higher
than the average for the general population (3.3).
2009, children aged 0-14 comprised 29% of the Ethiopian population,
compared to 26% in the population
of Jews and others.
majority of the Ethiopian population lives in two districts: the Central
District (38%) and the Southern District (24%). At the end of 2013,
Netanya had the largest number of Ethiopian residents (10,900 persons).
of married Ethiopians are married to Ethiopians
2009, Ethiopian households expended a monthly average of NIS 9,385 compared
to NIS 14,501 for all households. The monthly expenditure on education,
culture and entertainment among Ethiopian households was NIS 1,172,
compared to the NIS 1,762 national average.
Facts and Figures on
University Students (From the Central Bureau of Statistics 2014)
2,785 Ethiopian-Israelis comprise the student population, ages 20-30, and are enrolled in
institutions of higher learning – 0.9% of the total student population in Israel
of students in Masters programs - 312
Ethiopian-Israeli students with the proper coping mechanisms to handle
academic and social challenges that they may encounter throughout their
Ethiopian-Israeli students to complete their degrees.
school dropout rates.
the number of students who go on to complete second and third degrees.
higher education more accessible - goal of increasing college
matriculation by 700 students per academic year.
Facts and Figures on
IDF Preparation (From the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption 2007)
3,500 Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers are serving in the IDF
enlistment rate to the IDF is:
for boys (72% native Israelis)
for girls (58% native Israelis)
percentage of soldiers who enlist in elite combat units - 40% (at the
beginning of their service)
- Improve opportunities in army service - increase the
percentage of commanders and officers who are placed in important
- Reduce army discharge - 24% of Ethiopian-Israelis are
discharged before they complete their army service.
- Decrease rates of imprisonment - national indexes state that 16% of
Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers are imprisoned at least once over the course of
their army service.
- Improve education - 10% of Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers have
completed only 10 years of schooling.
- Assist in personal affairs - 36% of Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers are
eligible for personal support services.
For Further Reading