About the Community In Israel

Although there are success stories of assimilation into Israeli society, many of the 135,000 Ethiopian Jews are still living below the poverty line. There is high unemployment and those who do work are often unskilled workers, such as security guards, receiving low wages.

Crowd Scene

Children often do not have educational resources at home,and immigrant parents are often unable to assist with homework, due to lack of Hebrew language skills or scholastic experience. As a result, the highest suicide rate among Israeli youth is recorded in the Ethiopian community.

According to the Israei National Bureau of Statistics:

Family and Employment

  • 63% of employed Ethiopians work in non-professional fields

  • 20.5% of domestic homicide in Israel is within the Ethiopian Jewish community, compared to 1.5% in the general Israeli community. This is due to cultural and integration stresses within the family.

  • 15% of Ethiopian Jewish marriages end in divorce, compared to 9% in the general Israeli population. Once again, this is due to family stresses of integration challenges.


  • 68% of the 20,000 youth identify themselves as Israeli. There is often confusion of identity as they bridge two cultures so vastly different from each other.

  • Nearly 50% of Jewish youth at Ofek Juvenile Prison are of Ethiopian background, due to school-dropout and identity crisis. (Due to multiple hardships, the number of juvenile delinquents is double among the Ethiopian population. The number of Ethiopian youth arrested is the highest among youth in general in Israeli society.)


  • 40% of Ethiopian students in grades 1-9 are below the class level for reading.

  • 60% of Ethiopian students in grades 1-6 are below the class level in Hebrew and Mathematics.

  • 54% of Ethiopian Jewish students passed matriculation compared to 73% in the general community (2012). This statistic improves every year.

  • Higher education graduates from the Ethiopian community increased from 6% in 2003 to 18.6% in 2012.

"Many of these families lack the financial and educational options that their peers in better-off families or cities can afford, such as private tutoring or enriched programs, during or after school."  (E.N.P. Report 2012)

"The fact that we are a young generation shows how important schooling is in helping the Ethiopian community. We do not want these problems to be passed on the next generation". (Dr. Nigist Megesh, former Director General, E.N.P.)

Success stories

There are increasing numbers of success stories as Ethiopian Israelis graduate from university and college, serve in respected positions in the Israeli Defense Force and take their places in professioinal fields such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, social workers etc. These people serve as examples to the rest of the community, that is, it is possible to succeed with hard work and the right assistance.  Some have even become well recognized leaders and public figures within Israeli society. For example:

  • Belaynesh Zevadia in 2012 was the first Ethiopian Israel diplomat appointed to Addis Ababa, the capital of the country where she was born and lived in before moving to Israel.

  • Yityish Aynaw, (born in 1992), is an Ethiopian-born Isaeli who won the title of Miss Israel in 2013. She is the first Ethiopian Jew to win the contest. Aynaw is also the first black Miss Israel winner.

  • Shlomo Molla is an Israeli politcian who served as a member of the Israeli Knesset fo the Kadima and Hatnuah parties between 2008 and 2013. He became Israel's second MK of Ethoipian origin.

  • Avraham Neguise is an Israeli politician and activist for the Falsh Mura community, who is the only Israeli Ethiopian to be elected to the 20th Knesset and is still serving as such and an activist for Ethiopian Jewish rights and aliyah. He gained his PhD in Education while studying overseas at the University of Sussex.

  • Avraham Yitzhak was the first Israeli-Ethiopian physician and a Major in the IDF.  And in 2017, he became the first Ethiopian colonel in the IDF.

Equality within the community must be the right of every Israeli of Ethiopian background.  Equality of opportunity, equality of personal value, the right to follow a personal dream to success, and mentors, education and resources to help fulfill that dream.