New Agreement Calls for Better Integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Society

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday signed an agreement encouraging the integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society and the Israeli workforce and the prevention of discrimination and racism. The agreement is part of a public campaign aimed at reducing social gaps among the Ethiopian-Israeli community and putting an end to expressions of racism against the community. The campaign is being spearheaded by The Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) ahead of the start of the new school year.

The agreement – which the heads of Israeli local authorities, immigrant absorption bodies and educational institutions will also be invited to sign – calls for coordinated action to provide members of the Ethiopian community with the tools necessary to ensure their successful integration into both lower and higher education and in professional training, as well an uncompromising effort against all forms of discrimination, racism, and intolerance against members of the community.

“These phenomena – which have multiplied of late – are diametrically opposed to the values of Judaism, democracy, and equality, and dig a dangerous pit in our cohesive existence as a community and a country,” reads the agreement.

During the signing ceremony, Jewish Agency Chairman Sharansky and IFCJ President Rabbi Eckstein announced a new initiative where some 5,000 schoolchildren from the Ethiopian community will receive grants for school supplies ahead of the new school year. The initiative, entitled “Starting the Year in Friendship,” will be funded by a NIS 2 million contribution from the IFCJ.