Ethiopian Immigrants to Get Special Mortgage Benefits

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

Ethiopian immigrants are now eligible for an increased state-backed mortgage. The mortgages, to be provided to 200 families annually, will provide immigrants with NIS 600,000 at very advantageous terms. The plan was authorized several months ago by a Knesset committee on resolving housing issues for community members.

The 25-year loans will be provided interest-free for the first ten years, and at 2-percent interest for the balance of the life of the mortgage. The mortgage can be applied to an apartment anywhere in Israel, and recipients are free to supplement it with savings or loans from other sources. There is no income qualification for the loan; families who have one member who immigrated from Ethiopia are eligible, and recipients will be chosen by lottery.

Housing Minister Yoav Galant said that the policy was a continuation of the ones implemented to assist immigrants to Israel. “Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin helped the Mizrachi Jews, who for years suffered from discrimination, and now, 25 years after his death, we are continuing his legacy by helping members of the Ethiopian community who have suffered discrimination.

“The children of those who immigrated in the past 30 years have had difficulty buying homes because they cannot rely on their parents, and as a result gaps have sprung up in economic activity and achievements between this community and other Israelis. We are beginning to lower these gaps,” he added.

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