Gov’t: Ethiopian Immigrants’ Economic Situation Improves

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israelis of Ethiopian descent attend a memorial ceremony commemorating Ethiopian Jews who died during their immigration to Israel, at Mount Herzl in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
Israelis of Ethiopian descent attend a memorial ceremony commemorating Ethiopian Jews who died during their immigration to Israel. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Some 86,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent live in Israel today, 51,000 of whom are between the ages of 15 and 65 – and while unemployment is still high among that group, more are working and less are receiving state income support than ever, figures from the Labor Ministry showed. The number of Israelis of Ethiopian descent supported by welfare and other transfer payments fell from 3,944 in 2013 to 2,387 in September of this year, the figures showed.

The figures were released in conjunction with Sigd, an Ethiopian Jewish folklore event which will be celebrated Wednesday. Of those who left the welfare rolls and found jobs, 43 percent were 44 or younger, 23 percent between the ages of 45 and 54, and 34 percent 55 and older. Of those who found jobs, none returned to the welfare rolls as of September.

One of the reasons for this positive change has been an aggressive campaign of promoting courses with job training skills in the Ethiopian immigrant community, said Welfare Minister Chaim Katz. “Integrating the Ethiopian community in the Israeli workplace has been a national goal.The Welfare Ministry has spearheaded government efforts to develop training opportunities for the community, and just this past year we began a NIS 20 million program that includes language skills training, employment and skill training, and assistance for youth.”