Ethiopian Aliyah was born out of Jewish Ethiopians' desire to build a life in their religious homeland, as well as the Ministry of Absorption's decree in 1973 that the "Beta Israel" ethnic group represents an authentic tribe of Israel. Immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel began in the 1970's and greatly intensified from the 1980's onwards. Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1990 brought 8,000 and 14,000 Jewish Ethiopians to Israel, respectively. Overall, around 80,000 Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel throughout the years.
While thousands of Jewish Ethiopian families were successfully brought to Israel, their absorption was not as successful. A special report prepared by the Bank of Israel in 2007 discovered that the Ethiopian community is the lowest-paid sector in Israel, while 51.7% of Ethiopian families live under the poverty line, compared with 15.8% of Israel's population. Unemployment within the Ethiopian community is 13.2%, while they are forced to live in unbearable conditions of 1.6 persons per room. The rate of single mothers within the Ethiopian community is the highest in Israel (22.5%), while only 22% obtain a professional diploma after high school. Only 44% of Israelis of Ethiopian descent is entitled to a high school diploma as compared to 57% in the general population. Most Ethiopian families are characterized by a large number of children and dependent elderly family members, while many others are supported solely by single parents. Most Ethiopian families live in Israel's periphery, where poverty and hardship runs rampant (The Bank of Israel, 2007).
Out of over 110,000 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel, over 35,000 are children. Yet these children are born disadvantaged, due to the hardships experienced by their families to this very day, decades after their Aliyah. There is a need to offer these children an environment in which they can flourish and fulfill their potential, acquiring skills that will help them become leaders within their communities and adapt to the challenges of Israeli society. The ITC's empowerment programs offer children of Ethiopian descent an opportunity to excel in sport and teamwork, receive guidance from caring coaches and professionals in various fields, and ultimately realize that the sky is the limit for their dreams.
- Girls at Risk Empowerment Program for Ethiopian Children
The ITC offers scholarships to children of Ethiopian descent who wish to join the achievement and/or competitive tennis programs, yet are unable to afford the costs.
Kindergarten Program for Ethiopian Children
This nationwide program aims at improving motor skills such as fitness, balance and coordination in children ages 4-6, while promoting a healthy lifestyle from an early age. The ITC operates this program within all sectors of society, including numerous kindergartens where children of Ethiopian descent are a majority.
Excellence Program for Ethiopian Children
This program is geared towards helping children gain confidence and transcend social barriers, giving them a sense of belonging and identity. Structured as a competitive tennis and fitness program, the program advocates excellence in all fields on the tennis courts (through participation in tournaments) and in school.
Empowerment Program for Ethiopian Children
The Ethiopian Empowerment Program is geared towards helping children gain confidence, as well as a sense of belonging and identity. Structured as a tennis and fitness program with a strong focus on social enrichment, participants complete their homework at the tennis center and enjoy a cultivating environment. Parents are also invited to participate in many […]
- Jonathan David
- Ashkelon Foundation
- Eli Wiesel Foundation