Archive for the ‘Ethiopian Jews’ Category

Operation Solomon: The Daring Rescue of the Ethiopian Jews …

“A meticulous, well-written account of the events leading up to and including the Israeli airlift of 14,310 Ethiopian Jews. The book has the ring of authority, and reads like a novelistic thriller. [Spector’s] book is the most judicious and accurate record of Operation Solomon we are likely to get.” –American Jewish History

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Israel to purge young Ethiopian Jews criminal records …

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Seeking to mend rift with Ethiopian Jewry, Israel’s president and justice minister say they will expunge disturbance of public order crime charges in honor of communitys Sigd holiday

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Mass prayer in Jerusalem marks national day for Ethiopian …

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin greets the Ethiopian elders at the Sigd celebration in Jerusalem on Nov. 7, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

JERUSALEM (JTA) On a national holiday for Ethiopian Jews, before a crowd of tens of thousands, the president of Israel vowed that the citizens of his country will not discriminate on the basis of skin color.

We are brothers and sisters, and anyone who tries to undermine that has no place amongst the tribes of Israel, Reuven Rivlin said in his address Wednesday to mark Sigd, a state holiday since 2008 that marks the Ethiopians yearning to return to Jerusalem and Zion.

Ethiopian Jews living in Israel and their supporters gathered for a mass prayer at Sherover Promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem to mark the holiday. The promenade offers a wide view of the Temple Mount, and was designated by the Ethiopian community as the central meeting place for the holiday when the first immigrants began to arrive in Israel.

Jeena, Jeena, Ierusalem, Longing, Longing for Jerusalem this is what we sing to Jerusalem in the prayers of the festival, Rivlin said. And those prayers: those ancient, wonderful prayers that you kept hold of and held dear to you and learned by heart and taught your children and passed down the generations. They are prayers of wonder and expectation all the way to Jerusalem.

You brought a spirit of heroism and nobility that was sorely tested on the difficult journey you undertook, and over the long years of expectation and yearning. And you brought with you an ancient and passionate love for Zion, a love without bounds, he said.

The holiday had been first observed in Ethiopia, where the Jews led by their elders went to the mountains 50 days after Yom Kippur for prayer and fasting. A festive meal and singing and dancing to celebrate Jerusalem followed the fast.

Rivlin, the first Israeli president to visit Ethiopia, assured the crowd that Israel was working to secure the release of Avera Mengistu, the Ethiopian Israeli being held by Hamas in Gaza.

On Monday, Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued a special appeal to the Ethiopian-Israeli community to submit requests for pardons for public order offensesin honor of Sigd.They noted that a government report adopted two years ago described discrimination against the Ethiopian-Israeli community in various fields including law enforcement, health, education and employment. The report found that criminal investigations were opened and charges were brought against Ethiopian Israelis at a significantly higher rate than their representation in the population.

The call for pardon requests was made Out of a desire to complete a process of healing and closing gaps, as well as to strengthen the trust between the Ethiopian-Israeli community and law enforcement and justice authorities, in honor of the Sigd holiday, the statement said. The requests will be considered positively, out of a belief in the significant contribution made by these young people to Israeli society as a whole.

There are some 135,000 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel.

Some 8,000 Falash Mura, who claim Jewish descent, remain in Ethiopia awaiting permission to immigrate to Israel, most of whom have some family members in Israel. In October, Israels Cabinet approved a plan to bring some 1,000 of the Falash Mura who have children living in Israel to the country.

The 2019 state budget, which was approved by the Knesset in March, does not include funds for Ethiopian immigration, including thelong-term costs of acclimating the immigrants.

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The Falashas: A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews 3rd …

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The Situation of Ethiopian Jews in Israel

DemographicsIncome and EmploymentEducationDiscriminationNew ImmigrantsMilestonesConclusion

Ethiopian Jews have been in Israel for more than three decades, yet the vast majority continue to live in Israels social periphery. Ethiopian Israelis are perceived as a unique group and are often treated as such by the government and NGOs. Even with the special treatment, their social standing has changed little over the years. Moreover, socio-economic gaps between Ethiopian Israelis and the general population persist, despite the major resources invested.

At the end of 2013, 135,500 Israelis of Ethiopian origin were living in Israel. About 85,900 were born in Ethiopia while 49,600 were born in Israel.

At present, 70 percent of Ethiopian Israelis do not fall under Israel’s standard definition of olim (new immigrants). Only about 30 percent have been in Israel for less than 10 years. Within the veteran Ethiopian Israeli population there is great variance relating to background, language and culture of the geographical area in Ethiopia from which they come, when they made aliya (in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s) and how long they have been in Israel, where they live and what they do in Israel. The majority of Ethiopian Israelis live in central and southern Israel (38 percent and 24 percent respectively).

In 2015, the income of an Ethiopian household was 35 percent lower than that of an average household in Israel. More than 35 percent of Ethiopian Israeli families live under the poverty line in comparison with 18.6 percent of Israeli families in general.

On the positive side, the percentage of employed Ethiopians increased from 50 to 72 percent between 2003 and 2015. The percentage of women in the work force grew from 35 percent to 65 percent in a decade.

Only 5 percent of Ethiopians hold quality jobs compared to 33 percent of Jewish Israelis in general. That is changing, however, as more Ethiopians complete higher education: 55 percent of Ethiopian university graduates are employed in high-quality positions, similar to the figure for the general Jewish population. Salaries of Ethiopian graduates lag, primarily because a large proportion take lower paying jobs in fields such as nursing and teaching. Some activists also complain that young people have to change their names to sound less Ethiopian to get jobs.

In 2015, the average spending for Ethiopian Israeli households was 33% less than that of Israeli households in general, in correspondence with the gross income of Ethiopian Israeli households which is approximately 35% lower than Israeli households in general.

According to the Ministry of Education during the 2013-14 school year, 33,359 Israelis of Ethiopian descent attended school, making up 2.97 percent of students in the Israeli education system. About two-thirds of them (67.5 percent) were born in Israel while about one-third was born in Ethiopia (32.5 percent). More than 45 percent of elementary school children of Ethiopian background attend regular public schools while 51 percent attend religious public schools and 4 percent attend Haredi schools. Forty percent of Ethiopian Israeli school children attend schools in which they comprise up to 10 percent of the student body.

Today, 90 percent of Ethiopian Jews have a high-school education, similar to the 93 percent of the overall Jewish population.

Standardized tests (Meitzav in grades 2, 5 and 8, “Pisa” in grade 10 and the percentage qualifying for Bagrut (matriculation)) show that there are serious gaps between Ethiopian Israelis and the general population. These gaps are evident from grades on standardized tests in Hebrew, English and math and increase as the grade level rises. Nevertheless, 88 percent of Ethiopian Israeli high school students completing grade 12 take bagrut exams in comparison with 86 percent of the general population.

Only 20 percent have university education compared to 40 percent of the general population, a reflection of the fact that only 53 percent pass their matriculation exams compared to 73 percent of the general population. The matriculation results and participation in higher education for the second generation, however, is roughly four times higher than their parents generation.

Only 0.28 percent of Ethiopian Israelis participated in special programs for gifted children compared to 1.5 percent of the general Jewish population. Yet, the percentage of Ethiopian Israelis in special education is 50 percent higher than their proportion in the population.

The number of Ethiopian Israeli teachers employed in the school system increased from 54 in 2009-2010 to 240 in 2014, out of a total of 137,567 teachers – a participation rate of a mere 0.16 percent.

In the 2013/14 academic year, there were a total of 312,528 university/college students in Israel; 2,785 were Israelis of Ethiopian origin, i.e. Ethiopian Israelis make up 0.9 percent of university/college students while they are 1.5 percent of the population. Higher rates of Ethiopian Israeli women attend university than in the general population 67.7 percent and 56.8 percent respectively (BA).

Israelis were very excited and proud to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, and felt a particular affinity for their commitment to Judaism in exile and desire to return to Zion. Nevertheless, Ethiopians have sometimes been victims of discrimination. Only 25 percent of Israelis say they want to live next to Ethiopians and the government settled many of them in towns on Israels periphery.

In 2015, protests erupted when a video surfaced showing two policemen beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier while he was in uniform, highlighting what members of the community sayis a pattern of police brutality. A subsequent demonstration in Tel Aviv turned violent and 60 people were injured.

Activists also complain that students of Ethiopian descent, even if born in Israel, fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Absorption rather than the Ministry of Education. They say that their history is not being taught with the same diligence as that of other immigrant groups.

In February 2018, the Israeli government ended a 30-year controversy over the status of traditional Ethiopian leaders known as kesim by recognizing their authority to perform official religious functions and the legitimacy of their halachic rulings.

Between 2010 and 2013, 1,704 families of Ethiopian origin left absorption centers and 1,133 received increased government assistance (66 percent). In 2013, 85 percent of those who left absorption centers received increased assistance. Over the past 3 years, in the wake of advocacy efforts, the Ministry of Absorption has become more flexible in providing assistance to new immigrants of Ethiopian origin. Yet at present, more than 5,000 new immigrants from Ethiopia remain in absorption centers (out of a total of 7,000 new immigrants in the centers).

The Israeli government approved the entry of the last group of Ethiopian Jews in November 2015, aiming to finish what was started by Operation Moses 30 years prior. This announcement came two years after Israeli government officials claimed that no Jews remained in Ethiopia. There have been several supposedly last groups of Ethiopian Jews that have made aliyah to Israel, with the most recent group of 450 arriving in Israel in 2013. It is estimated that this proposal approved the entry into Israel of approximately 9,100 Ethiopian Jews, most of whom were at the time living in refugee camps in Adis Ababa and Gondar. The first group of this new wave of Ethiopian immigration to Israel arrived eleven months after the initial announcement, on October 9, 2016. Knesset members and other government officials met the group of 63 Falash Mura at Ben Gurion Airport, to welcome them to their new lives.

A deal reached in April 2016 between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset members will allow 10,000 Ethiopian Jews to be absorbed into Israel between 2016 and 2020, according to an administration spokesperson. The agreement allowed room in the government budget for transportation costs, and for conversion program costs to better integrate the new citizens.

On November 16, 2017, 69 Jews arrived in Israel from Ethiopia; however, the government decision to bring all the remaining Jews to Israel has still not been fully implemented.

Sources: The Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews (IAEJ)Lee Yaron, Ethiopians Earn 40 Percent Less Than Average Israeli Household, Haaretz, (November 11, 2015);Gill Hoffman, Coalition crisis averted: 9000 Ethiopian immigrants to be brought to Israel over 5 years, Jerusalem Post (April 8, 2016);Judah Ari Gross, In first, IDF taps member of Ethiopian community for colonel, Times of Israel, (November 22, 2016);Faye Greer Cashman, Ethiopian Israeli women appointed judges, Jerusalem Post, (December 21, 2016);Meirav Arlosoroff, Ethiopians in Israel: An Employment and Educational Success, Haaretz, (July 9, 2015);Jerusalem Report, (June 15, 2015);Ilan Lior, Israel Set to Greenlight Final Aliyah of Ethiopia’s Falashmura Community, Haaretz, (November 14, 2015):Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Breaking Glass, Jerusalem Report, (February 6, 2017);231 immigrants from two lost tribes arrive in Israel, Times of Israel, (November 16, 2017);Marcy Oster, Ethiopian-Israeli teen wins Israels X-Factor, JTA, (January 31, 2018);Benjamin Kerstein, After 30 Years of Limbo, Traditional Ethiopian-Jewish Religious Leaders Recognized by Israel, Algemeiner, (February 20, 2018).

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The Situation of Ethiopian Jews in Israel

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The Evolution of the Ethiopian Jews: A History of the Beta …

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Israeli Jews – Wikipedia

Israeli Jews Total populationCore Jewish population:6,556,00074.6% of the Israeli population[1][2][3][4]Enlarged Jewish population (includes non-Jewish relatives of Jews):6,705,00079.3% of the Israeli populationRegions with significant populationsIsrael 6,300,000[a] (September 2015)[9]United States500,000[10][11][12]Russia100,000 (80,000 in Moscow)[13][14]Canada10,755[15]30,000[16]United Kingdom30,000[17]Australia15,000[18]Germany10,000[19][20][21]Languages

Historical Hebrew, Jewish languagesYiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic and other Jewish languages (most endangered, and some now extinct)Liturgical languagesHebrew and Aramaic

Israeli Jews (Hebrew: , Yehudim Yisraelim), also known as Jewish Israelis, refers to Israeli citizens of the Jewish ethnicity or faith, and also the descendants of Israeli-Jewish emigrants outside of Israel.

Israeli Jews are found mostly in Israel and the Western world, as well as other countries worldwide, not necessarily only in Jewish communities. Israeli Jews mostly speak Hebrew and most follow at least some religious Jewish practices. Israel, the Jewish state, currently has almost half the world’s Jews.

The Jewish population in Israel comprises all Jewish diaspora communities, including Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Beta Israel, Cochin Jews, Bene Israel, Karaite Jews, and many other groups. The Israeli Jewish community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions, as well as encompassing the full spectrum of religious observance, from the haredi communities to the hilonim Jewish communities who live a secular lifestyle. Among the Jewish population, over 25% of the schoolchildren and over 35% of all newborns are of mixed ancestry of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi/Mizrahi descent and increases by 0.5% each year. Over 50% of the Jewish population is of at least a partial Sephardi/Mizrahi descent.[22]

Despite the ongoing debate over the question of who is a Jew among Israeli Jews, the Jewish status of a person, which is considered a matter of ‘nationality’ by the Israeli authorities, is registered and controlled by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, which requires a person to meet the halakhic definition to be registered as a ‘Jew’. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics estimated the Israeli Jewish population was 6,556,000 as of December 2017 (74.6% of the total population if East Jerusalem and Golan Arab population are counted in).[23][24]

An IDI Guttman Study of 2008 shows that a plurality of Israeli Jews (47%) identify themselves first as Jews and Israeli second, and that only 39% consider themselves first and foremost Israeli.[25]

Jews living in the region prior to the establishment of the State of Israel were commonly referred to in English as “Palestinian Jews” and in Hebrew as HaYishuv HaYehudi Be’Eretz Yisra’el (The Jewish Community in the Land of Israel).

Jews have long considered The Land of Israel to be their homeland, even while living in the diaspora. According to the Hebrew Bible the connection to the Land of Israel began in the covenant of the pieces when the region, which it called the land of Canaan, was promised to Abraham by God. Abraham settled in the region, where his son Isaac and grandson Jacob grew up with and their families. Later on, Jacob and his sons went to Egypt. Decades later their descendants were led out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron, given the Tablets of Stone, returned to the land of Canaan and conquered it under the leadership of Joshua. After the period of the judges, in which the Israelites did not have an organized leadership, the Kingdom of Israel was established, which constructed the first temple. This kingdom was soon split into twothe Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel. After the destruction of these kingdoms and the destruction of the first Temple, the Israelites were exiled to Babylon. After about 70 years parts of the Israelites were permitted to return to the region and soon thereafter they built the Second Temple. Later on they established the Hasmonean Kingdom. The region was conquered by the Roman Empire in 63 BC. During the 2nd century CE a series of rebellions against the Roman Empire ended up with the destruction of the second temple and a general expulsion of Jews from their homeland.

The area was later conquered by migrant Arabs from the Byzantine Empire who established a Muslim Caliphate in the 7th century during the rise of Islam. Throughout the centuries the size of Jewish population in the land fluctuated. Before the birth of modern Zionism in the 1880s, by the early 19th century, more than 10,000 Jews were still living in the area that is today modern Israel.

Following centuries of Jewish diaspora, the 19th century saw the rise of Zionism, a Jewish Nationalist Movement that had a desire to see the self-determination of the Jewish people through a creation of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. Significant numbers of Jews immigrated to Palestine since the 1880s. Zionism remained a minority movement until the rise of Nazism in 1933 and the subsequent attempted extermination of the Jewish people in Nazi occupied areas of Europe in the Holocaust.[26] In the late 19th century large numbers of Jews began moving to the Ottoman and later British-controlled region. In 1917, the British endorsed a National Home for Jews in Mandate Palestine by passing the Balfour Declaration. The Jewish population in the region increased from 11% of the population in 1922 to 30% by 1940[27]

In 1937, following the Great Arab Revolt, the partition plan proposed by the Peel Commission was rejected by the Palestinian Arab leadership, but accepted tentatively by Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion. As a result, in 1939, the British caved to Arab pressure because of support needed for World War II, abandoned the idea of a Jewish national homeland, and abandoned partition and negotiations in favour of the unilaterally-imposed White Paper of 1939, which capped Jewish immigration, and put subject to review under further agreement with the Arabs. Its other stated policy was to establish a system under which both Jews and Arabs were to share one government. The policy was viewed as a significant defeat for the Jewish side as it placed severe restrictions on Jewish immigration, while placing no restriction on Arab immigration.

In 1947, following increasing levels of violence, the British government decided to withdraw from Mandatory Palestine. The 1947 UN Partition Plan split the mandate into two states, Jewish and Arab, giving about 56% of Mandatory Palestine to the Jewish state. Immediately following the adoption of the Partition Plan by the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian Arab leadership rejected the plan to create the as-yet-unnamed Jewish State and launched a guerrilla war.

On 14 May 1948, one day before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine led by prime minister David Ben-Gurion, made a declaration of independence, of the State of Israel though without any reference to defined borders.[28]

The armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state, thus starting the 1948 ArabIsraeli War. The nascent Israeli Defense Force repulsed the Arab nations from part of the occupied territories, thus extending its borders beyond the original UNSCOP partition.[29] By December 1948, Israel controlled most of the portion of Mandate Palestine west of the Jordan River. The remainder of the Mandate consisted of Jordan, the area that came to be called the West Bank (controlled by Jordan), and the Gaza Strip (controlled by Egypt). Prior to and during this conflict, 711,000[30] Palestinians Arabs fled their original lands to become Palestinian refugees. The reasons for this are disputed, and range from claims that the major cause of Palestinian flight was military actions by the Israel Defense Forces and fear of events such as Deir Yassin to an encouragement to leave by Arab leaders so that they could return when the war was won.

Most Israeli Jews refer to the 1948 ArabIsraeli War as the War of Independence, while most of the Arab citizens of Israel refer to it as the Nakba (catastrophe), a reflection of differences in perception of the purpose and outcomes of the war.[31]

Immigration of Holocaust survivors and Jewish refugees from Arab lands doubled Israel’s population within one year of its independence. Over the following years approximately 850,000 Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews fled or were expelled from surrounding mostly due persecution in Arab countries, and in smaller numbers from Turkey, India, Afghanistan, and Iran. Of these, about 680,000 settled in Israel (see also Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries).

Israel’s Jewish population continued to grow at a very high rate for years, fed by waves of Jewish immigration from round the world, most notably the massive immigration wave of Soviet Jews, which arrived to Israel in the early 1990s following the dissolution of the USSR, who, according to the Law of Return, were entitled to become Israeli citizens upon arrival. About 380,000 arrived in 19901991 alone. At the same time some 80,000100,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel since the early 1980s.

Since 1948, Israel has been involved in a series of major military conflicts, including the 1956 Suez War, 1967 Six-Day War, 1973 Yom Kippur War, 1982 Lebanon War, and 2006 Lebanon War, as well as a nearly constant series of ongoing minor conflicts. Israel has been also embroiled in an ongoing conflict with the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories, which have been under Israeli control since the Six-Day War, despite the signing of the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993, and the ongoing efforts of Israeli, Palestinian and global peacemakers.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, as of February 2013, of Israel’s 8 million people, 75.4% were Jews of any background.[32] Among them, 68% were Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel)22% from Europe and the Americas, and 10% from Asia and Africa, including the Arab countries.[33] Nearly half of all Israeli Jews are descended from Jews who made aliyah from Europe, while around the same number are descended from Jews who made aliyah from Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia. Over two hundred thousand are, or are descended from, Ethiopian and Indian Jews.[34]

Israel is the only country in the world with a consistently growing Jewish population due to natural population increase unlike the Jewish communities in the Diaspora in which the Jewish population in general is either declining or steady, with the exception of the Orthodox and Haredi Jewish communities around the world, whose members often shun birth control for religious reasons, have experienced rapid population growth.[35] Haredi women have 7.7 children on average while the average Israeli Jewish woman has over 3 children.[36]

When Israel was first established in 1948, it had the third-largest Jewish population in the world, after the United States and Soviet Union. In the 1970s, Israel surpassed the Soviet Union as having the second-largest Jewish population.[37] In 2003, The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel had surpassed the United States as the nation with the world’s largest Jewish population. The report was contested by Professor Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Considered the greatest demographic expert on Jews, Della Pergola said it would take another three years to close the gap.[38] In January 2006, Della Pergola stated that Israel now had more Jews than the United States, and Tel Aviv had replaced New York as the metropolitan area with the largest Jewish population in the world,[39] while a major demographic study found that Israel’s Jewish population surpassed that of the United States in 2008.[40] Due to the decline of Diaspora Jewry as a result of intermarriage and assimilation, along with the steady growth of the Israeli Jewish population, it has been speculated that within about 20 years, most of the world’s Jews will live in Israel.[41] In March 2012, the Israeli Census Bureau of Statistics reported on behalf of Ynet has forecast that in 2019, Israel will be home to 6,940,000 Jews, 5.84 million which are non-haredi Jews living in Israel, compared with 5.27 million in 2009. The number is expected to grow to anywhere between 6.09 million and 9.95 million by 2059, marking a 16%89% increase with the 2011 population. The Bureau also forecasts that the ultra-Orthodox population will number 1.1 million people by 2019, compared with 750,000 in 2009. By 2059, the projected Haredi Jewish population is estimated to between 2.73 million and 5.84 million, marking a 264%686% increase. Thus the total projected Israeli Jewish population by 2059 is estimated to between 8.82 million and 15.790 million.[42] In January 2014, it was reported by demographer Joseph Chamie that the projected population of Israeli Jews is expected to reach between 9.84 million by the year 2025 and 11.40 million by 2035.[43]

For statistical purposes, there are three main metropolitan areas in Israel. The majority of the Jewish population in Israel is located in the central area of Israel within the Metropolitan area of Tel Aviv. The Metropolitan area of Tel Aviv is currently the largest Jewish population center in the world.

It has been argued that Jerusalem, Israel’s proclaimed capital and largest city with a population of 732,100, and an urban area with a population of over 1,000,000 (including 280,000 Palestinian East Jerusalemites who are not Israeli citizens), with over 700,000 Israeli Jews[55] and Nazareth with a population of 65,500, and an urban area of nearly 200,000 people of which over 110,000 are Israeli Jews[56] should also be classified as metropolitan areas.

By the time the State of Israel was proclaimed, the majority of Jews in the state and the region were Ashkenazi. Following the declaration of the state, a flood of Jewish migrants and refugees entered Israelboth from Europe and America and also from Arab and Muslim countries. Most of the Jewish immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s were Jewish Holocaust survivors, as well as Sephardic Jews and Mizrahi Jews (mostly Moroccan Jews, Algerian Jews, Tunisian Jews, Yemenite Jews, Bukharan Jews, Iranian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Kurdish Jews, and smaller communities, principally from Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Egypt, India, Turkey and Afghanistan). In recent decades other Jewish communities have also immigrated to Israel including Ethiopian Jews, Russian Jews and Bnei Menashe.

Among Israeli Jews, 75% are Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel)19% from Europe, Americas and Oceania, and 9% from Asia and Africa, mostly the Muslim world.

The Israeli government does not trace the diaspora origin of Israeli Jews.

The CBS traces the paternal country of diaspora origin of Israeli Jews (including nonHalachically Jewish immigrants who arrived on the Law of Return) as of 2010 is as follows.[57]

In Israel there are approximately 300,000 citizens with Jewish ancestry who are not Jewish according to Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law. Of this number approximately 10% are Christian and 89% are either Jewish or non-religious. The total number of conversions under the Nativ program of IDF was 640 in 2005 and 450 in 2006. From 2002 to 1 October 2007, a total of 2,213 soldiers have converted under Nativ.[58] In 2003, 437 Christians converted to Judaism; in 2004, 884; and in 2005, 733.[59] Recently several thousand conversions conducted by the Chief Rabbinate under the leadership of Rabbi Chaim Drukman have been annulled, and the official Jewish status over several thousand people who converted through the conversion court of the Chief Rabbinate since 1999 hangs in limbo as the proceedings continue regarding these individuals Jewish status. The vast majority of these individuals are former Soviet Union immigrants.[60]

In his book from 2001 “The Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Culture and Military in Israel”, the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling identified and divided the modern Israeli society into seven population groups (seven subcultures): The secular upper-middle class group, the national religious group, the traditionalist Mizrahim group, the Orthodox religious group, the Arab citizens of Israel, the Russian immigrants group and the Ethiopian immigrants group. According to Kimmerling, each of these population groups have distinctive characteristics, such as place of resident, consumption patterns, education systems, communications media and more.[61]

Today, Jews whose family immigrated from European countries and the Americas, on their paternal line, constitute the largest single group among Israeli Jews and consist of about 3,000,000[62] people living in Israel. About 1,200,000 of them are descended from or are immigrants from the former Soviet Union who returned from the diaspora after the fall of the Former Soviet Union 1991 (about 300,000 of them are not considered to be Jewish under halakha). Most of the other 1,800,000 are descended from the first Zionist settlers in the Land of Israel, as well as Holocaust survivors and their descendants, with an additional 200,000 having immigrated or descended from immigrants from English-speaking countries and South America. They have played a prominent role in various fields including the arts, entertainment, literature, sports, science and technology, business and economy, media, and politics of Israel since its founding, and tend to be the most affluent of Israeli Jews.

Not all Jews immigrating to Israel from European countries are of Ashkenazi origin (the majority of French Jews are of Sephardic, and some Jews from the Asian Republics of the USSR are Mizrahi), and the Israeli government does not distinguish between Jewish communities in its census.

During the first decades of Israel as a state, strong cultural conflict was going on between Mizrahi, Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews (mainly east European Ashkenazim). The roots of this conflict, which still exists to a much smaller extent in present-day Israeli society, stems from the many cultural differences between the various Jewish communities; this happened despite of the government’s encouragement of the “melting pot”. That is to say, all Jewish immigrants in Israel were strongly encouraged to “melt down” their own particular exile identities within the general social “pot” in order to become Israeli.

The current most prominent European countries of origin of the Israeli Jews are as follows:[citation needed]

The majority of Israeli Jews are Mizrahi.[63] The exact proportion of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish populations in Israel is unknown (since it is not included in the census); some estimates place Jews of Mizrahi origin at up to 61% of the Israeli Jewish population,[64] with hundreds of thousands more having mixed Ashkenazi heritage due to cross-cultural intermarriage.

Jews from North Africa and Asia have come to be called “Mizrahi Jews”.

Most African and Asian Jewish communities use the Sephardic prayer ritual and abide by the rulings of Sephardic rabbinic authorities, and therefore consider themselves to be “Sephardim” in the broader sense of “Jews of the Spanish rite”, though not in the narrower sense of “Spanish Jews”. Of late, the term Mizrahi has come to be associated with all Jews in Israel with backgrounds in Islamic lands.

Cultural and/or “racial” biases against the newcomers were compounded by the fledgling state’s lack of financial resources and inadequate housing to handle the massive population influx. Thus, hundreds of thousands of new Sephardic immigrants were sent to live in tent cities in outlying areas. Sephardim (in its wider meaning) were often victims of discrimination, and were sometimes called schwartze (meaning “black” in Yiddish).

Some believe that even worse than the housing discrimination was the differential treatment accorded the children of these immigrants, many of whom were tracked by the largely European education establishment into dead-end “vocational” high schools, without any real assessment of their intellectual capacities. Mizrahi Jews protested their unfair treatment, and even established the Israeli Black Panthers movement with the mission of working for social justice.

The effects of this early discrimination still linger a half-century later, as documented by the studies of the Adva Center, a think tank on social equality, and by other Israeli academic research (cf., for example, Tel Aviv University Professor Yehuda Shenhav’s article in Hebrew documenting the gross under-representation of Sephardic Jewry in Israeli high school history textbooks.) All Israeli Prime Ministers have been Ashkenazi, although Sephardim and Mizrahim have attained high positions including ministerial positions, chief of staffs and presidency. The student bodies of Israel’s universities remain overwhelmingly Ashkenazi in origin, despite the fact that roughly half the country’s population is non-Ashkenazi. And the tent cities of the 1950s morphed into so-called “development towns”. Scattered over border areas of the Negev Desert and the Galilee, far from the bright lights of Israel’s major cities, most of these towns never had the critical mass or ingredients to succeed as places to live, and they continue to suffer from high unemployment, inferior schools, and chronic brain drain.

While the Israeli Black Panthers no longer exist, the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition and many other NGOs carry on the struggle for equal access and opportunity in housing, education, and employment for the country’s underprivileged populacestill largely composed of Sephardim and Mizrahim, joined now by newer immigrants from Ethiopia and the Caucasus Mountains.

Today over 2,500,000 Mizrahi Jews,[65] and Sephardic Jews live in Israel with the majority of them being descendants of the 680,000 Jews who fled Arab countries (

The current most prominent countries of diaspora origin of these Jewish communities are as follows:[67]

Israel also has small populations of Italian (rite) Jews from Italy and Romaniote Jews from Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Both groups are considered distinct from the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim. Jews from both communities made aliyah in relatively large numbers during the 20th century, especially after the Holocaust. Both came in relatively small numbers as compared to other Jewish groups. Despite their small numbers, the Italian have been prominent in the economy and academia. Most Italian and Romaniote Israelis and their descendants live in the Tel Aviv area.[71]

Argentines in Israel are the largest immigrant group from Latin America and one of the fastest growing groups. The vast majority of Argentines in Israel are Jewish Argentines who make Aliyah but there is also an important group of non-Jewish Argentines, having, or being married to somebody who has, at least one Jewish grandparent, who choose Israel as their new home. There are about 50,000 Argentines residing in Israel although some estimates put the figure at 70,000.[72][73]

Most Jewish Argentines are Ashkenazi Jews.[citation needed]

Nearly all of the Ethiopian Beta Israel community today lives in Israel, comprising more than 121,000 people.[74] Most of this population are the descendants and the immigrants who immigrated to Israel during two massive waves of immigration mounted by the Israeli government”Operation Moses” (1984) and during “Operation Solomon” (1991). Civil war and famine in Ethiopia prompted the Israeli government to mount these dramatic rescue operations. The rescues were within the context of Israel’s national mission to gather Diaspora Jews and bring them to the Jewish homeland. Some immigration has continued up until the present day. Today 81,000 Ethiopian Israelis were born in Ethiopia, while 38,500 or 32% of the community are native born Israelis.[75]

Over time, the Ethiopian Jews in Israel moved out of the government-owned mobile home camps that they initially lived in and settled mainly in the various cities and towns throughout Israel, mainly with the encouragement of the Israeli authorities who granted the new immigrants generous government loans or low-interest mortgages.

Similarly to other groups of immigrant Jews who made aliyah to Israel, the Ethiopian Jews have faced obstacles in their integration to Israeli society. Initially the main challenges of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel were due in part to communication difficulties (most of the population could not read or write in Hebrew, and much of the veteran population could not hold a simple conversation in the Hebrew language), and discrimination in certain areas of the Israeli society. Unlike Russian immigrants, many of whom arrive with job skills, Ethiopians came from a subsistence economy and were ill-prepared to work in an industrialized society.

Over the years there has been significant progress in the integration of this population group in the Israeli society, primarily due to the fact that most of the young Ethiopian population enlists to the mandatory Israel military service, where most Ethiopian Jews have been able to increase their chances for better opportunities.[76]

The 2013 Miss Israel title was given to Yityish Titi Aynaw, the first Ethiopian-born contestant to win the pagent. Aynaw, moved to Israel from Ethiopia with her family when she was 12.[77]

Intermarriage between Ashkenazi Jews and Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews in Israel was initially uncommon, due in part to distances of each group’s settlement in Israel, economic gaps, and cultural and/or racial biases. In recent generations, however, the barriers were lowered by state-sponsored assimilation of all the Jewish communities into a common Sabra (native-born Israeli) identity, which facilitated extensive “mixed marriages”. The percentage of Jewish children born to mixed marriages between Ashkenazi Jews and Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews rose steadily. A 1995 survey found that 5.3% of Jews aged 4043, 16.5% of Jews aged 2021, and 25% of Jews aged 1011 were of mixed ancestry. That same year, 25% of Jewish children born in Israel were mixed.[78]

Even though the assimilation rate among the Israeli Jewish community has always been low, the propriety and degree of assimilation of Israeli Jews and Jews worldwide has always been a significant and controversial issue within the modern Israeli Jewish community, with both political and religious skeptics.

While not all Jews disapprove of intermarriage, many members of the Israeli Jewish community have expressed their concern that a high rate of interfaith marriages will result in the eventual disappearance of the Israeli Jewish community.

In contrast to the current moderate birth rates of Israeli Jews and the relative low trends of assimilation, some communities within Israeli Jewry, such as Orthodox Jews, have significantly higher birth rates and lower intermarriage rates, and are growing rapidly.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 the term “Yerida” has been used to mark the emigration of Jews from Israel, whether in groups (small or large) or individually.

Through the years, the majority of Israeli Jews who emigrated from Israel went to the United States and Canada.

For many years definitive data on Israeli emigration was unavailable.[82] In The Israeli Diaspora sociologist Stephen J. Gold maintains that calculation of Jewish emigration has been a contentious issue, explaining, “Since Zionism, the philosophy that underlies the existence of the Jewish state, calls for return home of the world’s Jews, the opposite movementIsraelis leaving the Jewish state to reside elsewhereclearly presents an ideological and demographic problem.”[83]

Among the most common reasons for emigration of Israeli Jews from Israel are economic constraints, economic characteristics (U.S. and Canada have always been richer nations than Israel), disappointment of the Israeli government, Israel’s ongoing security issues, as well as the excessive role of religion in the lives of Israelis.

In recent decades, considerable numbers of Israeli Jews have moved abroad.[84] Reasons for emigration vary, but generally relate to a combination of economic and political concerns. According to data published in 2006, from 1990 to 2005, 230,000 Israelis left the country; a large proportion of these departures included people who initially immigrated to Israel and then reversed their course (48% of all post-1990 departures and even 60% of 2003 and 2004 departures were former immigrants to Israel). 8% of Jewish immigrants in the post-1990 period left Israel. In 2005 alone, 21,500 Israelis left the country and had not yet returned at the end of 2006; among them 73% were Jews. At the same time, 10,500 Israelis came back to Israel after over one year abroad; 84% of them were Jews.

In addition, the Israeli Jewish diaspora group also has many Jews worldwide, especially the ones who originate from Western countries, who moved to Israel and gained Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, who lived in Israel for a time, then returned to their country of origin and kept their dual citizenship.

Many Israeli Jews emigrated to the United States throughout the period of the declaration of the state of Israel and until today. Today, the descendants of these people are known as Israeli-Americans. The 2000 Census counted 106,839 Israeli Americans.[85] It is estimated that 400,000800,000 Israeli Jews have immigrated to the United States since the 1950s, though this number remains a contested figure, since many Israelis are originally from other countries and may list their origin countries when arriving in the United States.[10]

Moscow has the largest single Israeli expatriate community in the world, with 80,000 Israeli citizens living in the city as of 2014, almost all of them native Russian-speakers.[14][86] Many Israeli cultural events are hosted for the community, and many live part of the year in Israel. (To cater to the Israeli community, Israeli cultural centres are located in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg.)[87]

Many Israeli Jews emigrated to Canada throughout the period of the declaration of the state of Israel and until today. Today, the descendants of these people are known as Israeli Canadians. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Jewish Israelis live in Canada.[16]

Many Israeli Jews emigrated to the United Kingdom throughout the period of the declaration of the state of Israel and until today. Today, the descendants of these people are known as Israeli-British. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Jewish Israelis live in the United Kingdom.[17]

The majority of the Israeli Jews in the UK live in London and in particular in the heavily populated Jewish area of Golders Green.[citation needed]

In the northern part of Israel the percentage of Jewish population is declining.[88] The increasing population of Arabs within Israel, and the majority status they hold in two major geographic regionsthe Galilee and the Trianglehas become a growing point of open political contention in recent years.

The phrase demographic threat (or demographic bomb) is used within the Israeli political sphere to describe the growth of Israel’s Arab citizenry as constituting a threat to its maintenance of its status as a Jewish state with a Jewish demographic majority.

Israeli historian Benny Morris states:

The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb. Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy that is among us. They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then. If we are attacked by Egypt (after an Islamist revolution in Cairo) and by Syria, and chemical and biological missiles slam into our cities, and at the same time Israeli Palestinians attack us from behind, I can see an expulsion situation. It could happen. If the threat to Israel is existential, expulsion will be justified[…][89]

The term “demographic bomb” was famously used by Benjamin Netanyahu in 2003[90] when he asserted that if the percentage of Arab citizens rises above its current level of about 20 percent, Israel will not be able to maintain a Jewish demographic majority. Netanyahu’s comments were criticized as racist by Arab Knesset members and a range of civil rights and human rights organizations, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.[91] Even earlier allusions to the “demographic threat” can be found in an internal Israeli government document drafted in 1976 known as the Koenig Memorandum, which laid out a plan for reducing the number and influence of Arab citizens of Israel in the Galilee region.

In 2003, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv published an article entitled, “Special Report: Polygamy is a Security Threat,” detailing a report put forth by the Director of the Israeli Population Administration at the time, Herzl Gedj; the report described polygamy in the Bedouin sector a “security threat” and advocated means of reducing the birth rate in the Arab sector.[92] The Population Administration is a department of the Demographic Council, whose purpose, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics is: “…to increase the Jewish birthrate by encouraging women to have more children using government grants, housing benefits, and other incentives.”[93] In 2008 the Minister of the Interior appointed Yaakov Ganot as new head of the Population Administration, which according to Haaretz is “probably the most important appointment an interior minister can make.”[94]

The rapid population growth with the Haredi sector may affect, according to some Israeli researchers, the preservation of a Jewish majority in the state of Israel.[95] Preserving a Jewish majority population within the state of Israel have been a defining principle among Israeli Jews, where Jewish couples are encouraged to have large families. Many financial incentives were given on behalf of the Israeli government. For instance, Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion set up a monetary fund for Jewish women who gave birth to at least 10 children.[96] In addition to increasing to Jewish population and commitment towards preserving a Jewish majority, Israel continues to place a high value on increasing fertility among Jewish mothers.[97] To further increase the Israeli Jewish fertility rate and population, many fertility clinics have been opened and are operated throughout the country. As part of Israel’s universal health-care coverage, Israel spends $60 million annually on publicly funded fertility treatments and operates more fertility clinics per capita than any other country in the world.[98]

A study showed that in 2010, Jewish birthrates rose by 31% and 19,000 diaspora Jews immigrated to Israel, while the Arab birthrate fell by 1.7%.[99] By June 2013, a number of Israeli demographers called the so-called Arab demographic time bomb a myth, citing a declining Arab and Muslim birth rate, an incremental increase in the Israeli Jewish birth rate, unnecessary demographic scare campaigns, as well as inflated statistics released by the Palestinian Authority[100][101][102][103]

Israeli former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger has rejected the assertion of a demographic time bomb, saying that anyone who believes such claims are either misled or mistaken.[104][105]

Ian Lustick, has accused Ettinger and his associates for multiple methodological errors and having a political agenda.[106]

Jewishness is widely considered by Israeli Jews as a national, ethnic and religious identity (See Ethnoreligious group).

In 2011, roughly 9% of Israeli Jews defined as haredim (ultra-orthodox religious); an additional 10% are “religious”; 15% consider themselves “religious traditionalists”, not strictly adhering to religion; further 23% are self-defined “‘not very religious’ traditionalists” and 43% are “secular” (“hiloni”).[108] However, 78% of all Israelis (virtually all Israeli Jews) participate in a Passover seder,[109] and 63% fast on Yom Kippur.

Jewish religious practice in Israel is quite varied. Among the 4.3million American Jews described as “strongly connected” to Judaism, over 80% report some sort of active engagement with Judaism, ranging from attendance at daily prayer services on one end of the spectrum to as little as attendance Passover Seders or lighting Hanukkah candles on the other.

Unlike North American Jews, Israeli Jews tend not to align themselves with any movement of Judaism (such as Reform Judaism or Conservative Judaism) but instead tend to define their religious affiliation by degree of their religious practice.

Another characteristic of the Jewish community in Israel is the relatively high dynamism in which the Israeli Jews tend to define their religious status. Among the secular and traditionalist groups some individuals choose to embrace Orthodox Judaism. In 2009 around 200,000 Israeli Jews aged 20 and above defined themselves as “Baalei teshuva” ( ), Nevertheless, in practice about a quarter of them have a traditionalist lifestyle. Various Orthodox organizations operate in Israel with the aim of getting non-Orthodox Jews embrace Orthodox Judaism. Notable examples are the Chasidic movements Chabad and Breslov whom has gained much popularity among the Baalei teshuva, the organizations Arachim and Yad LeAchim who initiate seminars in Judaism, and the organization Aish HaTorah.

On the other hand, Among the religious and Orthodox groups in Israel, many individuals chose to part from the religious lifestyle and embrace a secular lifestyle (they are referred to as Yotz’im bish’ela). A research conducted in 2011 estimated that about 30 percent of the national religious youth from the religious lifestyle and embrace a secular lifestyle, but 75 percent of them go back to religion after a formation process of their self-identity, which usually lasts until age 28. The percentage from those who grew up in Chassidic homes, is even higher then that. Contrary to Baalei teshuva, the Orthodox Jews whom wish to embrace a secular lifestyle only have very few organizations whom assist them in parting from the Haredi world, and often they end up finding themselves destitute or struggling to complete the educational and social gaps. The most prominent organizations whom assist Yotz’im bish’ela are the NGO organizations Hillel and Dror.

Education is a core value in Jewish culture and in Israeli society at large with many Israeli parents sacrificing their own personal comforts and financial resources to provide their children with the highest standards of education possible.[110] Much of the Israeli Jewish population seek education as a passport to a decent job and a middle class paycheck in the country’s competitive high-tech economy. Jewish parents especially mothers take great responsibility to inculcate the value of education in their children at a young age. Striving for high academic achievement and educational success is stressed in many modern Jewish Israeli households as parents make sure that their children are well educated adequately in order to gain the necessary technological skills needed for employment success to compete in Israel’s modern high-tech job market. Israelis see competency with in demand job skills such as literacy in math and science as especially necessary for employment success in Israel’s competitive 21st-century high-tech economy.[110] Israel’s Jewish population maintains a relatively high level of educational attainment where just under half of all Israeli Jews (46%) hold post-secondary degrees. This figure has remained stable in their already high levels of educational attainment over recent generations.[111][112] Israeli Jews (among those ages 25 and older) have average of 11.6 years of schooling making them one of the most highly educated of all major religious groups in the world.[113][114] The Israeli government regulates and finances most of the schools operating in the country, including the majority of those run by private organizations. The national school system has two major branchesa Hebrew-speaking branch and an Arabic-speaking branch. The core curricula for the two systems are almost identical in mathematics, sciences, and English. It is different in humanities (history, literature, etc.). While Hebrew is taught as a second language in Arab schools since the third grade and obligatory for Arabic-speaking schools’ matriculation exams, only basic knowledge of Arabic is taught in Hebrew-speaking schools, usually from the 7th to the 9th grade. Arabic is not obligatory for Hebrew-speaking schools’ matriculation exams.

The movement for the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language was particularly popular among new Jewish Zionist immigrants who came to Palestine since the 1880s. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (born in the Russian Empire) and his followers created the first Hebrew-speaking schools, newspapers, and other Hebrew-language institutions. After his immigration to Israel, and due to the impetus of the Second Aliyah (19051914), Hebrew prevailed as the single official and spoken language of the Jewish community of mandatory Palestine. When the State of Israel was formed in 1948, the government viewed Hebrew as the de facto official language and initiated a melting pot policy, where every immigrant was required to study Hebrew and often to adopt a Hebrew surname. Use of Yiddish, which was the main competitor prior to World War II, was discouraged,[115] and the number of Yiddish speakers declined as the older generations died out, though Yiddish is still commonly used in Ashkenazi haredi communities.

Modern Hebrew is also the primary official language of the modern State of Israel and almost all Israeli Jews are native Hebrew-speakers and speak Hebrew as their primary language. A variety of other languages are still spoken within some Israeli Jewish communities, communities that are representative of the various Jewish ethnic divisions from around the world that have come together to make up Israel’s Jewish population.

Even though the majority of Israeli Jews are native Hebrew speakers, many Jewish immigrants still continue to speak their former languagesmany immigrants from the Soviet Union continue to speak primarily Russian at home and many immigrants from Ethiopia continue to speak primarily Amharic at home.

Many of Israel’s Hasidic Jews (being exclusively of Ashkenazi descent) are raised speaking Yiddish.

Classical Hebrew is the language of most Jewish religious literature, such as the Tanakh (Bible) and Siddur (prayerbook).

Currently, 90% of the Israeli-Jewish public is proficient in Hebrew, and 70% is highly proficient.[116]

Some prominent Israeli politicians such as David Ben-Gurion had tried to learn Arabic, the Mizrahi Jews spoke Judeo-Arabic although most of their descendants in Israel today only speak Hebrew.[citation needed]

Israel was established as a homeland for the Jewish people and is often referred to as the Jewish state. Israel’s Declaration of Independence specifically called for the establishment of a Jewish state with equality of social and political rights, irrespective of religion, race, or sex.[117] The notion that Israel should be constituted in the name of and maintain a special relationship with a particular group of people, the Jewish people, has drawn much controversy vis–vis minority groups living in Israelthe large number of Muslim and Christian Palestinians residing in Israel. Nevertheless, through the years many Israeli Jewish nationalists have based the legitimacy of Israel being a Jewish state on the Balfour Declaration and ancient historical ties to the land, asserting that both play particular roles as evidence under international law, as well as a fear that a hostile Arab world might be disrespectful of a Jewish minorityalleging a variety of possible harms up to and including genocidewere Israel to become a post-national “state for all its citizens”.

Through the years, as Israel’s continued existence as a “Jewish State” has relied upon the maintenance of a Jewish demographic majority, Israeli demographers, politicians and bureaucrats have treated Jewish population growth promotion as a central question in their research and policymaking.

The Law of Return is an Israeli legislation that grants all Jews and those of Jewish lineage the right to gain an Israeli citizenship and to settle in Israel. It was enacted by the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, on 5 July 1950, and the related Law of Citizenship in 1952. These two pieces of legislation contain expressions pertaining to religion, history and nationalism, as well as to democracy, in a combination unique to Israel. Together, they grant preferential treatment to Jews returning to their ancestral homeland.

The Law of Return declares that Israel constitutes a home not only for the inhabitants of the State, but also for all members of the Jewish people everywhere, be they living in poverty and fear of persecution or be they living in affluence and safety. The law declares to the Jewish people and to the world that the State of Israel welcomes the Jews of the world to return to their ancient homeland.

Currently, all the marriages and divorces in Israel (as well as within the Jewish community) are recognized by the Israeli Interior Ministry only if performed under an official recognized religious authority and only between a man and a woman of the same religion.[118] The Jewish marriage and divorce in Israel are under the jurisdiction of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which defines a person’s Jewish status strictly according to halakha.

Civilian marriages are only officially sanctioned if performed abroad. As a result, it is not uncommon for couples who may for some reason not be able (or chose not) to get married in Israel to travel overseas to get married.[119]

During its time of existence the legal settlement that gives the rabbinical courts the monopoly on conducting the marriages and divorces of the entire Israeli Jewish population has been a source of great criticism from the secular public in Israel, but also to the ardent support from the religious public. The main argument of the supporters of the law is that its cancellation will divide the Jewish people in Israel between the Jews who would marry and divorce each other within the Jewish religious authorities and the Jews who would marry and divorce each other within the civil marriageswhich would not be registered or inspected by the religious authorities, and thus their children would be considered illegitimate to marry the children of the couples married within the religious court, from fear of them being considered Mamzer. Opponents of the law see it as a severe offense to the human civil rights made by the state of Israel.

However, common-law marriage is recognized by Israeli law, without restriction of ethnicity, religion or sex (that is, both for inter-sex and same-sex couples, and between a Jew and a non-Jew). Once, the status of common law marriage is proven and obtained, it gives a legal status almost equal to marriage.[120]

National military service is mandatory for any Israeli over the age of 18, with the exception of the Arab Muslim and Christian population (currently estimated at around 20% of the Israeli population) and many ultra-Orthodox Jews (currently estimated at around 8% of the Israeli Jewish population[109] and rising steeply). Druze and Circassian men are liable, by agreement with their community leaders. Members of the exempted groups can still volunteer, but very few do, except for the Bedouin where a relatively large number of men have tended to volunteer. The Israeli Jewish population and especially the secular Israeli Jewish population, is currently the only population group in Israel that has a mandatory military conscription for both men and womena fact that has caused much resentment from within the Jewish community towards the non-serving population, some of which are demanding that all the Israeli citizens share an equal amount of responsibilities, whether in the Israeli army or as part of Sherut Leumi.

In addition, in the recent decade a growing minority from within the Israeli Jewish conscripts have denounced the mandatory enrollment, and refused to serve (see also Refusal to serve in the Israeli military), many claiming that due to financial insecurities they feel that they need to be spending their time more productively pursuing their chosen studies or career paths. Some individual resentment may also be compounded by the typically low wages paid to conscriptsthe current Israeli policies see National Service as a duty rendered to the country and its citizens, and therefore the Israeli army does not pay any wages to conscripts, but instead grants a low monthly allowance to the full-time national service personnel, depending on the type of their duty.

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June 19, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Latest aliya wave leaves thousands of Ethiopian Jews …

The last 119 Ethiopian Jews approved to make aliya were set to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, completing the immigration of the 1,300 persons whom the government had promised to bring to Israel by the end of the year.

The families of the thousands still waiting to make aliya were left wondering when their family members would also be approved to make the move.

According to the two latest cabinet decisions on the issue, held in November 2015 and in August 2016, some 9,000 Falash Mura, Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity, may be brought to Israel by the end of 2020, starting with the 1,300 in 2017.

Sabine Hadad, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministrys Population and Immigration Authority, has stressed in the past that 9,000 is only the potential number, and that of those 9,000 people, the government will accept only those who meet the ministrys criteria.

Alisa Bodner, spokeswoman to foreign media of the advocacy group Struggle for Ethiopian Aliya, has accused the ministry of not having upheld all of its commitments, specifically referring to Clause 5 of cabinet decision 1911, passed in 2016.

The clause states that as long as the Population and Immigration Authority understands that the number of those eligible to enter the country according to this decision is significantly higher or lower than 1,300, it will be brought again before the cabinet for approval. Despite this requirement, This never happened, Bodner told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

The budget [for immigration] is going to be decided on in the next few days, and if those names [of those awaiting aliya] are not at the Prime Ministers Office, then they wont be included in the budget, she said. So theres a lot of concern that immigration will not continue in the coming year.

She added that government representatives are being unresponsive to queries by activists.

In response to a query by the Post, the interior ministers spokesman Barak Serry said: The Population and Immigration Authority completed its activities in accordance with the cabinets decision to absorb 1,300 immigrants from Ethiopia according to the criteria that were set. The data were transferred to the Prime Ministers Office.

The decision regarding an additional quota should be made by the cabinet in a special resolution. To date, to the best of our knowledge, no proposal has been formulated for this matter and we have not been asked to address it.

The Post sought to verify Bodners assertions regarding the Population and Immigration Authority, but Hadad did not respond to a query as to whether the authority had stated that there were more Ethiopians eligible for aliya.

Ethiopian-Israeli MK Avraham Neguise, who has spearheaded efforts to bring Ethiopians eligible for aliya to Israel, told the Post on Wednesday that there is a positive approach toward the need to continue the aliya in 2018, but there is no final decision.

We know that the Interior Ministry has identified that there are more people eligible under the cabinet decision and current criteria…, but the aliya cannot continue unless the cabinet has approved another budget for 2018, Neguise added.

The MK expressed hope that a new resolution would be approved on the issue, noting that nobody has said no, but they say it is in the process of receiving the necessary approval.

The interior minister has not brought it to the cabinet, he added, saying the responsibility lies with Interior Minister Arye Deri, in order to bring about a new cabinet decision and for the Finance Ministry to subsequently allocate the necessary funds for the aliya. But if the interior minister does not demand it, they wont do it voluntarily, Neguise asserted.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem said on Wednesday that once additional olim from Ethiopia are approved by the cabinet, it stands ready to raise the money needed to sponsor this second year of renewed Ethiopian aliya.

The ICEJ invested $1.2 million in Ethiopian aliya this past year, including additional monies to assist with the critical absorption phase, as these Jewish communities adjust to the new language and culture of Israel. Christians from all over the world have been contributing to this humanitarian cause, including generous donations from African Christians, the organization noted.

The great ingathering of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel is still continuing, and it is a real privilege and joy for our organization to play such a central role in this historic return to Zion, said Dr. Jrgen Bhler, president of the ICEJ.

We know that these latest arrivals from the Ethiopia community will never be the same as they rejoin their families and become fully part of the modern miracle of Israel. Some of these families have been separated now for over two decades, and so it is a special honor for us to help bring them back together here in the Jewish homeland.

Falash Mura is the name given to those of the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia and Eritrea who under compulsion and pressure from missionaries converted to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Since their ancestors converted to another religion, the Falash Mura are not covered by the Law of Return, which grants the right to immigrate and gain citizenship to anyone with a Jewish grandparent.

The Falash Mura are brought to Israel under the Law of Entry and are required to convert to Judaism once in Israel. They receive the same absorption benefits granted to immigrants who come under the Law of Return.

Abere Endeshaw, a leader of the Jewish community in Ethiopia, is waiting in Addis Ababa for his own chance to make aliya.

This week is the last aliya of the year, he said. Today I witnessed some of the community members leaving Ethiopia and heading toward the Promised Land. Today I saw two sisters one heading home to Israel and one back to the community. I saw two brothers one heading home to Israel and one going back to the community, and many more. I wonder when the separation will stop. I wonder when the cries of a mother and father, sister and brother, aunt and uncle will stop and be united with happiness.

I wish a very successful journey for the Jews all over the world who made aliya during this year, and I wish strength and hope for the remaining Jews who are waiting to go back home, Endeshaw said.

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Ethiopian-Israeli singer tells his personal story and that …

Many musicians share fond memories of a first piano recital coiffed, quiffed and ready for one part charm, two parts humiliation. Others smile while remembering the first Arik Einstein song they clunked out on their brothers hand-me-down guitar. Gili Yalos first performance took place atop his fathers shoulders in the middle of the desert.

His repertoire: the familiar village songs with which his mother lulled him to sleep.

His audience: a group of Ethiopian wanderers losing hope by the minute.

The trek from Ethiopia to Sudan was long, especially for a four-year old.

Yalo was recounting Operation Moses, the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan during the 1984 famine to the Promised Land.

We had no electricity in our village, Yalo explained. So I never heard the music of the world back then, only the live music my mother sang to me.

Yalos mother was not a musician by trade, rather a musician by necessity.

In Ethiopia, especially in the smaller villages, music was a way of life. While the men went to war, the women sang and drummed to uplift their spirits, he said.

Boxed off from the world in a Sudanese refugee camp, Yalo, too, sought to uplift the spirits of his suffering beloved ones. After finally reaching Israel and settling in Safed, his horizon was broadened, and an affinity for Natan Yonatan paired with a class trip, a crowded school bus and a crappy microphone landed him an audition with Pirchei Yerushalayim, The Jerusalem Boys Choir.

Yalo recalled, I went to the audition, sang the same song and the manager asked me if I had a passport. I told him that sadly I did not, to which he responded, Well, go get yourself one, because in two weeks youre coming with us to Paris.

The choir toured everywhere from Los Angeles to Germany and beyond and with each new place Yalo visited, the nine-year-old choir boy gained greater insight into the worlds cultural vastness.

[Touring] made me realize that the world is so much bigger than Israel. He continued, I also learned that you dont have to limit yourself to one single mindset.

There are other cultures, other possibilities, and understanding that opens up your mind to the people who are different from you… the music youre not used to hearing.

While his cultural exposure grew, his pride for his own culture diminished.

[The Ethiopian culture] wasnt fashionable, Yalo explained.

Teachers would yell at me for speaking Amharic, classmates would call me names, telling me to go back to the jungle. I was ashamed of the food, the traditional clothing. I thought Ethiopians were primitive, while Israelis seemed so sophisticated.

Why, then, is the fashionably flawless Yalo standing before me in a vibrant blue-and-orange button- down, laden with the geometric patterns of traditional Ethiopian garb? And why are Selam and Africa the first two singles released off his debut self-titled solo album teeming with Ethiopian motifs, grooves and landscapes?

Its in my DNA, he shared without hesitation. The real turning point, however, stemmed from an incident that happened about 10 years ago in Kiryat Malachi, when the owners of an apartment building refused to rent or sell to Ethiopian Jews.

Yalo had experienced racism before, but never at this scale. When it happens to an entire building, you suddenly understand that the problem is much larger than you thought. I started wondering where I belonged if not in [Israeli] society.

It was at this point that Yalo read up on his Ethiopian culture and discovered just how rich it truly was, 2000 years in the making. He fell in love with the Ethiopian manners, politeness and respect between human beings. It was something I was missing in Israel.

Much to Yalos surprise, as he adopted the grooves and melodies of his native land, his career truly started to pick up, and the Israeli audiences were responsive.

In most of my shows, the audience is usually only 15 to 20 percent Ethiopian. Even if Israelis dont understand the Amharic language, the melodies and grooves reel them in.

There is something very energetic about the brass elements, kerar an Ethiopian string instrument resembling a guitar and the pentatonic scales associated with Ethiopian music that makes you want to get up and dance.

For Yalo, this energy is essential: In a live performance, there is this circle of energy that grows and grows as the show continues. I feed off of the audience and they feed off of me.

Is any of that energy lost in the studio?

Studio recordings are a very personal procedure, Yalo said. You sit down at two in the morning, just you and your guitar, then go into the studio and its just you and the producer until you bring the band in. I was really frightened because I had never seen myself as a recording artist before. Im a performer through and through. That fear, particularly in the responsibility of recording my own lyrics, had taken up most of the studio room.

Im proud that I finished the album because it allowed me to overcome that fear, which is my number one goal in life.

While it took more than three years to come to fruition, the finished product is reflective of three years of dedication, perseverance and experience, both societal and personal, like his relationship with ex-wife Ester Rada, whose solo break encouraged Yalo to follow suit.

While Rada toted Different Eyes as a breakup album, Yalo bears no grudges. He respects her and feels that she deserves every ounce of success. She is extremely talented, works hard, and I wish her all the luck on her solo path.

He also respects Radas ability to shift gears from her first album. He believes that part of being a human and an artist means changing things up and keeping the ground burning under your feet, which is exactly what Yalo had to do when shooting the music video for his single, Selam.

At first, they had planned to shoot the video using a drone, starting with a close-up on Yalo and panning out to the market place in Ethiopia. But we were running on Africa time… everyone there is late, Yalo chuckled, so the market was already closing down. The few shots that we did get felt too cold.

His cameraman had also shot some footage that day just for fun cuts of Yalo singing with dozens of children behind him which evolved into the version seen today. A brilliant coincidence became a blessing in disguise.

In contrast, Africa, the second of the albums singles released last month, was meticulously planned out. The bright colors, the nightlife, the dancing, the talent, those horses, the skateboards… I wanted to bring the next generation of Ethiopia to center stage. Despite the assumption that Africa is always in trouble, theres a bright future there, one that I truly believe in, he stated, his voice strong and assured.

A confused young boy refusing to speak Amharic with his parents is now long gone. A confident man beaming with pride for his culture, his roots, his belonging stands in his place.Gili Yalo will perform his album release show at Tel Avivs Barby on December 20. Doors open at 20:30.

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Operation Solomon: The Daring Rescue of the Ethiopian Jews …

“A meticulous, well-written account of the events leading up to and including the Israeli airlift of 14,310 Ethiopian Jews. The book has the ring of authority, and reads like a novelistic thriller. [Spector’s] book is the most judicious and accurate record of Operation Solomon we are likely to get.” –American Jewish History

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Israel to purge young Ethiopian Jews criminal records …

Home > Israel News Seeking to mend rift with Ethiopian Jewry, Israel’s president and justice minister say they will expunge disturbance of public order crime charges in honor of communitys Sigd holiday ‘ + ‘ Thank you for subscribing’ + ‘ ‘ + ‘ Error on Subscription, try later’ + ‘

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Mass prayer in Jerusalem marks national day for Ethiopian …

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin greets the Ethiopian elders at the Sigd celebration in Jerusalem on Nov. 7, 2018. (Kobi Gideon/GPO) JERUSALEM (JTA) On a national holiday for Ethiopian Jews, before a crowd of tens of thousands, the president of Israel vowed that the citizens of his country will not discriminate on the basis of skin color. We are brothers and sisters, and anyone who tries to undermine that has no place amongst the tribes of Israel, Reuven Rivlin said in his address Wednesday to mark Sigd, a state holiday since 2008 that marks the Ethiopians yearning to return to Jerusalem and Zion. Ethiopian Jews living in Israel and their supporters gathered for a mass prayer at Sherover Promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem to mark the holiday. The promenade offers a wide view of the Temple Mount, and was designated by the Ethiopian community as the central meeting place for the holiday when the first immigrants began to arrive in Israel. Jeena, Jeena, Ierusalem, Longing, Longing for Jerusalem this is what we sing to Jerusalem in the prayers of the festival, Rivlin said. And those prayers: those ancient, wonderful prayers that you kept hold of and held dear to you and learned by heart and taught your children and passed down the generations. They are prayers of wonder and expectation all the way to Jerusalem. You brought a spirit of heroism and nobility that was sorely tested on the difficult journey you undertook, and over the long years of expectation and yearning. And you brought with you an ancient and passionate love for Zion, a love without bounds, he said. The holiday had been first observed in Ethiopia, where the Jews led by their elders went to the mountains 50 days after Yom Kippur for prayer and fasting. A festive meal and singing and dancing to celebrate Jerusalem followed the fast. Rivlin, the first Israeli president to visit Ethiopia, assured the crowd that Israel was working to secure the release of Avera Mengistu, the Ethiopian Israeli being held by Hamas in Gaza. On Monday, Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued a special appeal to the Ethiopian-Israeli community to submit requests for pardons for public order offensesin honor of Sigd.They noted that a government report adopted two years ago described discrimination against the Ethiopian-Israeli community in various fields including law enforcement, health, education and employment. The report found that criminal investigations were opened and charges were brought against Ethiopian Israelis at a significantly higher rate than their representation in the population. The call for pardon requests was made Out of a desire to complete a process of healing and closing gaps, as well as to strengthen the trust between the Ethiopian-Israeli community and law enforcement and justice authorities, in honor of the Sigd holiday, the statement said. The requests will be considered positively, out of a belief in the significant contribution made by these young people to Israeli society as a whole. There are some 135,000 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel. Some 8,000 Falash Mura, who claim Jewish descent, remain in Ethiopia awaiting permission to immigrate to Israel, most of whom have some family members in Israel. In October, Israels Cabinet approved a plan to bring some 1,000 of the Falash Mura who have children living in Israel to the country. The 2019 state budget, which was approved by the Knesset in March, does not include funds for Ethiopian immigration, including thelong-term costs of acclimating the immigrants.

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The Falashas: A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews 3rd …

‘).appendTo(flyout.elem());var panelGroup=flyout.getName()+’SubCats’;var hideTimeout=null;var sloppyTrigger=createSloppyTrigger($parent);var showParent=function(){if(hideTimeout){clearTimeout(hideTimeout);hideTimeout=null;} if(visible){return;} var height=$(‘#nav-flyout-shopAll’).height(); $parent.css({‘height’: height});$parent.animate({width:’show’},{duration:200,complete:function(){$parent.css({overflow:’visible’});}});visible=true;};var hideParentNow=function(){$parent.stop().css({overflow:’hidden’,display:’none’,width:’auto’,height:’auto’});panels.hideAll({group:panelGroup});visible=false;if(hideTimeout){clearTimeout(hideTimeout);hideTimeout=null;}};var hideParent=function(){if(!visible){return;} if(hideTimeout){clearTimeout(hideTimeout);hideTimeout=null;} hideTimeout=setTimeout(hideParentNow,10);};flyout.onHide(function(){sloppyTrigger.disable();hideParentNow();this.elem().hide();});var addPanel=function($link,panelKey){var panel=dataPanel({className:’nav-subcat’,dataKey:panelKey,groups:[panelGroup],spinner:false,visible:false});if(!flyoutDebug){var mouseout=mouseOutUtility();mouseout.add(flyout.elem());mouseout.action(function(){panel.hide();});mouseout.enable();} var a11y=a11yHandler({link:$link,onEscape:function(){panel.hide();$link.focus();}});var logPanelInteraction=function(promoID,wlTriggers){var logNow=$F.once().on(function(){var panelEvent=$.extend({},event,{id:promoID});if(config.browsePromos&&!!config.browsePromos[promoID]){panelEvent.bp=1;} logEvent(panelEvent);phoneHome.trigger(wlTriggers);});if(panel.isVisible()&&panel.hasInteracted()){logNow();}else{panel.onInteract(logNow);}};panel.onData(function(data){renderPromo(data.promoID,panel.elem());logPanelInteraction(data.promoID,data.wlTriggers);});panel.onShow(function(){var columnCount=$(‘.nav-column’,panel.elem()).length;panel.elem().addClass(‘nav-colcount-‘+columnCount);showParent();var $subCatLinks=$(‘.nav-subcat-links > a’,panel.elem());var length=$subCatLinks.length;if(length> 0){var firstElementLeftPos=$subCatLinks.eq(0).offset().left;for(var i=1;i’+ catTitle+”);panel.elem().prepend($subPanelTitle);}} $link.addClass(‘nav-active’);});panel.onHide(function(){$link.removeClass(‘nav-active’);hideParent();a11y.disable();sloppyTrigger.disable();});panel.onShow(function(){a11y.elems($(‘a, area’,panel.elem()));});sloppyTrigger.register($link,panel);if(flyoutDebug){$link.click(function(){if(panel.isVisible()){panel.hide();}else{panel.show();}});} var panelKeyHandler=onKey($link,function(){if(this.isEnter()||this.isSpace()){panel.show();}},’keydown’,false);$link.focus(function(){panelKeyHandler.bind();}).blur(function(){panelKeyHandler.unbind();});panel.elem().appendTo($parent);};var hideParentAndResetTrigger=function(){hideParent();sloppyTrigger.disable();};for(var i=0;i Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required. ISBN-13: 978-0714641706 ISBN-10: 0714641707 This bar-code number lets you verify that you’re getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.

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The Situation of Ethiopian Jews in Israel

DemographicsIncome and EmploymentEducationDiscriminationNew ImmigrantsMilestonesConclusion Ethiopian Jews have been in Israel for more than three decades, yet the vast majority continue to live in Israels social periphery. Ethiopian Israelis are perceived as a unique group and are often treated as such by the government and NGOs. Even with the special treatment, their social standing has changed little over the years. Moreover, socio-economic gaps between Ethiopian Israelis and the general population persist, despite the major resources invested. At the end of 2013, 135,500 Israelis of Ethiopian origin were living in Israel. About 85,900 were born in Ethiopia while 49,600 were born in Israel. At present, 70 percent of Ethiopian Israelis do not fall under Israel’s standard definition of olim (new immigrants). Only about 30 percent have been in Israel for less than 10 years. Within the veteran Ethiopian Israeli population there is great variance relating to background, language and culture of the geographical area in Ethiopia from which they come, when they made aliya (in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s) and how long they have been in Israel, where they live and what they do in Israel. The majority of Ethiopian Israelis live in central and southern Israel (38 percent and 24 percent respectively). In 2015, the income of an Ethiopian household was 35 percent lower than that of an average household in Israel. More than 35 percent of Ethiopian Israeli families live under the poverty line in comparison with 18.6 percent of Israeli families in general. On the positive side, the percentage of employed Ethiopians increased from 50 to 72 percent between 2003 and 2015. The percentage of women in the work force grew from 35 percent to 65 percent in a decade. Only 5 percent of Ethiopians hold quality jobs compared to 33 percent of Jewish Israelis in general. That is changing, however, as more Ethiopians complete higher education: 55 percent of Ethiopian university graduates are employed in high-quality positions, similar to the figure for the general Jewish population. Salaries of Ethiopian graduates lag, primarily because a large proportion take lower paying jobs in fields such as nursing and teaching. Some activists also complain that young people have to change their names to sound less Ethiopian to get jobs. In 2015, the average spending for Ethiopian Israeli households was 33% less than that of Israeli households in general, in correspondence with the gross income of Ethiopian Israeli households which is approximately 35% lower than Israeli households in general. According to the Ministry of Education during the 2013-14 school year, 33,359 Israelis of Ethiopian descent attended school, making up 2.97 percent of students in the Israeli education system. About two-thirds of them (67.5 percent) were born in Israel while about one-third was born in Ethiopia (32.5 percent). More than 45 percent of elementary school children of Ethiopian background attend regular public schools while 51 percent attend religious public schools and 4 percent attend Haredi schools. Forty percent of Ethiopian Israeli school children attend schools in which they comprise up to 10 percent of the student body. Today, 90 percent of Ethiopian Jews have a high-school education, similar to the 93 percent of the overall Jewish population. Standardized tests (Meitzav in grades 2, 5 and 8, “Pisa” in grade 10 and the percentage qualifying for Bagrut (matriculation)) show that there are serious gaps between Ethiopian Israelis and the general population. These gaps are evident from grades on standardized tests in Hebrew, English and math and increase as the grade level rises. Nevertheless, 88 percent of Ethiopian Israeli high school students completing grade 12 take bagrut exams in comparison with 86 percent of the general population. Only 20 percent have university education compared to 40 percent of the general population, a reflection of the fact that only 53 percent pass their matriculation exams compared to 73 percent of the general population. The matriculation results and participation in higher education for the second generation, however, is roughly four times higher than their parents generation. Only 0.28 percent of Ethiopian Israelis participated in special programs for gifted children compared to 1.5 percent of the general Jewish population. Yet, the percentage of Ethiopian Israelis in special education is 50 percent higher than their proportion in the population. The number of Ethiopian Israeli teachers employed in the school system increased from 54 in 2009-2010 to 240 in 2014, out of a total of 137,567 teachers – a participation rate of a mere 0.16 percent. In the 2013/14 academic year, there were a total of 312,528 university/college students in Israel; 2,785 were Israelis of Ethiopian origin, i.e. Ethiopian Israelis make up 0.9 percent of university/college students while they are 1.5 percent of the population. Higher rates of Ethiopian Israeli women attend university than in the general population 67.7 percent and 56.8 percent respectively (BA). Israelis were very excited and proud to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, and felt a particular affinity for their commitment to Judaism in exile and desire to return to Zion. Nevertheless, Ethiopians have sometimes been victims of discrimination. Only 25 percent of Israelis say they want to live next to Ethiopians and the government settled many of them in towns on Israels periphery. In 2015, protests erupted when a video surfaced showing two policemen beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier while he was in uniform, highlighting what members of the community sayis a pattern of police brutality. A subsequent demonstration in Tel Aviv turned violent and 60 people were injured. Activists also complain that students of Ethiopian descent, even if born in Israel, fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Absorption rather than the Ministry of Education. They say that their history is not being taught with the same diligence as that of other immigrant groups. In February 2018, the Israeli government ended a 30-year controversy over the status of traditional Ethiopian leaders known as kesim by recognizing their authority to perform official religious functions and the legitimacy of their halachic rulings. Between 2010 and 2013, 1,704 families of Ethiopian origin left absorption centers and 1,133 received increased government assistance (66 percent). In 2013, 85 percent of those who left absorption centers received increased assistance. Over the past 3 years, in the wake of advocacy efforts, the Ministry of Absorption has become more flexible in providing assistance to new immigrants of Ethiopian origin. Yet at present, more than 5,000 new immigrants from Ethiopia remain in absorption centers (out of a total of 7,000 new immigrants in the centers). The Israeli government approved the entry of the last group of Ethiopian Jews in November 2015, aiming to finish what was started by Operation Moses 30 years prior. This announcement came two years after Israeli government officials claimed that no Jews remained in Ethiopia. There have been several supposedly last groups of Ethiopian Jews that have made aliyah to Israel, with the most recent group of 450 arriving in Israel in 2013. It is estimated that this proposal approved the entry into Israel of approximately 9,100 Ethiopian Jews, most of whom were at the time living in refugee camps in Adis Ababa and Gondar. The first group of this new wave of Ethiopian immigration to Israel arrived eleven months after the initial announcement, on October 9, 2016. Knesset members and other government officials met the group of 63 Falash Mura at Ben Gurion Airport, to welcome them to their new lives. A deal reached in April 2016 between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset members will allow 10,000 Ethiopian Jews to be absorbed into Israel between 2016 and 2020, according to an administration spokesperson. The agreement allowed room in the government budget for transportation costs, and for conversion program costs to better integrate the new citizens. On November 16, 2017, 69 Jews arrived in Israel from Ethiopia; however, the government decision to bring all the remaining Jews to Israel has still not been fully implemented. Sources: The Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews (IAEJ)Lee Yaron, Ethiopians Earn 40 Percent Less Than Average Israeli Household, Haaretz, (November 11, 2015);Gill Hoffman, Coalition crisis averted: 9000 Ethiopian immigrants to be brought to Israel over 5 years, Jerusalem Post (April 8, 2016);Judah Ari Gross, In first, IDF taps member of Ethiopian community for colonel, Times of Israel, (November 22, 2016);Faye Greer Cashman, Ethiopian Israeli women appointed judges, Jerusalem Post, (December 21, 2016);Meirav Arlosoroff, Ethiopians in Israel: An Employment and Educational Success, Haaretz, (July 9, 2015);Jerusalem Report, (June 15, 2015);Ilan Lior, Israel Set to Greenlight Final Aliyah of Ethiopia’s Falashmura Community, Haaretz, (November 14, 2015):Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Breaking Glass, Jerusalem Report, (February 6, 2017);231 immigrants from two lost tribes arrive in Israel, Times of Israel, (November 16, 2017);Marcy Oster, Ethiopian-Israeli teen wins Israels X-Factor, JTA, (January 31, 2018);Benjamin Kerstein, After 30 Years of Limbo, Traditional Ethiopian-Jewish Religious Leaders Recognized by Israel, Algemeiner, (February 20, 2018).

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The Evolution of the Ethiopian Jews: A History of the Beta …

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June 28, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Israeli Jews – Wikipedia

Israeli Jews Total populationCore Jewish population:6,556,00074.6% of the Israeli population[1][2][3][4]Enlarged Jewish population (includes non-Jewish relatives of Jews):6,705,00079.3% of the Israeli populationRegions with significant populationsIsrael 6,300,000[a] (September 2015)[9]United States500,000[10][11][12]Russia100,000 (80,000 in Moscow)[13][14]Canada10,755[15]30,000[16]United Kingdom30,000[17]Australia15,000[18]Germany10,000[19][20][21]Languages Historical Hebrew, Jewish languagesYiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic and other Jewish languages (most endangered, and some now extinct)Liturgical languagesHebrew and Aramaic Israeli Jews (Hebrew: , Yehudim Yisraelim), also known as Jewish Israelis, refers to Israeli citizens of the Jewish ethnicity or faith, and also the descendants of Israeli-Jewish emigrants outside of Israel. Israeli Jews are found mostly in Israel and the Western world, as well as other countries worldwide, not necessarily only in Jewish communities. Israeli Jews mostly speak Hebrew and most follow at least some religious Jewish practices. Israel, the Jewish state, currently has almost half the world’s Jews. The Jewish population in Israel comprises all Jewish diaspora communities, including Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Beta Israel, Cochin Jews, Bene Israel, Karaite Jews, and many other groups. The Israeli Jewish community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions, as well as encompassing the full spectrum of religious observance, from the haredi communities to the hilonim Jewish communities who live a secular lifestyle. Among the Jewish population, over 25% of the schoolchildren and over 35% of all newborns are of mixed ancestry of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi/Mizrahi descent and increases by 0.5% each year. Over 50% of the Jewish population is of at least a partial Sephardi/Mizrahi descent.[22] Despite the ongoing debate over the question of who is a Jew among Israeli Jews, the Jewish status of a person, which is considered a matter of ‘nationality’ by the Israeli authorities, is registered and controlled by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, which requires a person to meet the halakhic definition to be registered as a ‘Jew’. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics estimated the Israeli Jewish population was 6,556,000 as of December 2017 (74.6% of the total population if East Jerusalem and Golan Arab population are counted in).[23][24] An IDI Guttman Study of 2008 shows that a plurality of Israeli Jews (47%) identify themselves first as Jews and Israeli second, and that only 39% consider themselves first and foremost Israeli.[25] Jews living in the region prior to the establishment of the State of Israel were commonly referred to in English as “Palestinian Jews” and in Hebrew as HaYishuv HaYehudi Be’Eretz Yisra’el (The Jewish Community in the Land of Israel). Jews have long considered The Land of Israel to be their homeland, even while living in the diaspora. According to the Hebrew Bible the connection to the Land of Israel began in the covenant of the pieces when the region, which it called the land of Canaan, was promised to Abraham by God. Abraham settled in the region, where his son Isaac and grandson Jacob grew up with and their families. Later on, Jacob and his sons went to Egypt. Decades later their descendants were led out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron, given the Tablets of Stone, returned to the land of Canaan and conquered it under the leadership of Joshua. After the period of the judges, in which the Israelites did not have an organized leadership, the Kingdom of Israel was established, which constructed the first temple. This kingdom was soon split into twothe Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel. After the destruction of these kingdoms and the destruction of the first Temple, the Israelites were exiled to Babylon. After about 70 years parts of the Israelites were permitted to return to the region and soon thereafter they built the Second Temple. Later on they established the Hasmonean Kingdom. The region was conquered by the Roman Empire in 63 BC. During the 2nd century CE a series of rebellions against the Roman Empire ended up with the destruction of the second temple and a general expulsion of Jews from their homeland. The area was later conquered by migrant Arabs from the Byzantine Empire who established a Muslim Caliphate in the 7th century during the rise of Islam. Throughout the centuries the size of Jewish population in the land fluctuated. Before the birth of modern Zionism in the 1880s, by the early 19th century, more than 10,000 Jews were still living in the area that is today modern Israel. Following centuries of Jewish diaspora, the 19th century saw the rise of Zionism, a Jewish Nationalist Movement that had a desire to see the self-determination of the Jewish people through a creation of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. Significant numbers of Jews immigrated to Palestine since the 1880s. Zionism remained a minority movement until the rise of Nazism in 1933 and the subsequent attempted extermination of the Jewish people in Nazi occupied areas of Europe in the Holocaust.[26] In the late 19th century large numbers of Jews began moving to the Ottoman and later British-controlled region. In 1917, the British endorsed a National Home for Jews in Mandate Palestine by passing the Balfour Declaration. The Jewish population in the region increased from 11% of the population in 1922 to 30% by 1940[27] In 1937, following the Great Arab Revolt, the partition plan proposed by the Peel Commission was rejected by the Palestinian Arab leadership, but accepted tentatively by Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion. As a result, in 1939, the British caved to Arab pressure because of support needed for World War II, abandoned the idea of a Jewish national homeland, and abandoned partition and negotiations in favour of the unilaterally-imposed White Paper of 1939, which capped Jewish immigration, and put subject to review under further agreement with the Arabs. Its other stated policy was to establish a system under which both Jews and Arabs were to share one government. The policy was viewed as a significant defeat for the Jewish side as it placed severe restrictions on Jewish immigration, while placing no restriction on Arab immigration. In 1947, following increasing levels of violence, the British government decided to withdraw from Mandatory Palestine. The 1947 UN Partition Plan split the mandate into two states, Jewish and Arab, giving about 56% of Mandatory Palestine to the Jewish state. Immediately following the adoption of the Partition Plan by the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian Arab leadership rejected the plan to create the as-yet-unnamed Jewish State and launched a guerrilla war. On 14 May 1948, one day before the end of the British Mandate of Palestine, the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine led by prime minister David Ben-Gurion, made a declaration of independence, of the State of Israel though without any reference to defined borders.[28] The armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state, thus starting the 1948 ArabIsraeli War. The nascent Israeli Defense Force repulsed the Arab nations from part of the occupied territories, thus extending its borders beyond the original UNSCOP partition.[29] By December 1948, Israel controlled most of the portion of Mandate Palestine west of the Jordan River. The remainder of the Mandate consisted of Jordan, the area that came to be called the West Bank (controlled by Jordan), and the Gaza Strip (controlled by Egypt). Prior to and during this conflict, 711,000[30] Palestinians Arabs fled their original lands to become Palestinian refugees. The reasons for this are disputed, and range from claims that the major cause of Palestinian flight was military actions by the Israel Defense Forces and fear of events such as Deir Yassin to an encouragement to leave by Arab leaders so that they could return when the war was won. Most Israeli Jews refer to the 1948 ArabIsraeli War as the War of Independence, while most of the Arab citizens of Israel refer to it as the Nakba (catastrophe), a reflection of differences in perception of the purpose and outcomes of the war.[31] Immigration of Holocaust survivors and Jewish refugees from Arab lands doubled Israel’s population within one year of its independence. Over the following years approximately 850,000 Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews fled or were expelled from surrounding mostly due persecution in Arab countries, and in smaller numbers from Turkey, India, Afghanistan, and Iran. Of these, about 680,000 settled in Israel (see also Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries). Israel’s Jewish population continued to grow at a very high rate for years, fed by waves of Jewish immigration from round the world, most notably the massive immigration wave of Soviet Jews, which arrived to Israel in the early 1990s following the dissolution of the USSR, who, according to the Law of Return, were entitled to become Israeli citizens upon arrival. About 380,000 arrived in 19901991 alone. At the same time some 80,000100,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel since the early 1980s. Since 1948, Israel has been involved in a series of major military conflicts, including the 1956 Suez War, 1967 Six-Day War, 1973 Yom Kippur War, 1982 Lebanon War, and 2006 Lebanon War, as well as a nearly constant series of ongoing minor conflicts. Israel has been also embroiled in an ongoing conflict with the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories, which have been under Israeli control since the Six-Day War, despite the signing of the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993, and the ongoing efforts of Israeli, Palestinian and global peacemakers. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, as of February 2013, of Israel’s 8 million people, 75.4% were Jews of any background.[32] Among them, 68% were Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel)22% from Europe and the Americas, and 10% from Asia and Africa, including the Arab countries.[33] Nearly half of all Israeli Jews are descended from Jews who made aliyah from Europe, while around the same number are descended from Jews who made aliyah from Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia. Over two hundred thousand are, or are descended from, Ethiopian and Indian Jews.[34] Israel is the only country in the world with a consistently growing Jewish population due to natural population increase unlike the Jewish communities in the Diaspora in which the Jewish population in general is either declining or steady, with the exception of the Orthodox and Haredi Jewish communities around the world, whose members often shun birth control for religious reasons, have experienced rapid population growth.[35] Haredi women have 7.7 children on average while the average Israeli Jewish woman has over 3 children.[36] When Israel was first established in 1948, it had the third-largest Jewish population in the world, after the United States and Soviet Union. In the 1970s, Israel surpassed the Soviet Union as having the second-largest Jewish population.[37] In 2003, The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel had surpassed the United States as the nation with the world’s largest Jewish population. The report was contested by Professor Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Considered the greatest demographic expert on Jews, Della Pergola said it would take another three years to close the gap.[38] In January 2006, Della Pergola stated that Israel now had more Jews than the United States, and Tel Aviv had replaced New York as the metropolitan area with the largest Jewish population in the world,[39] while a major demographic study found that Israel’s Jewish population surpassed that of the United States in 2008.[40] Due to the decline of Diaspora Jewry as a result of intermarriage and assimilation, along with the steady growth of the Israeli Jewish population, it has been speculated that within about 20 years, most of the world’s Jews will live in Israel.[41] In March 2012, the Israeli Census Bureau of Statistics reported on behalf of Ynet has forecast that in 2019, Israel will be home to 6,940,000 Jews, 5.84 million which are non-haredi Jews living in Israel, compared with 5.27 million in 2009. The number is expected to grow to anywhere between 6.09 million and 9.95 million by 2059, marking a 16%89% increase with the 2011 population. The Bureau also forecasts that the ultra-Orthodox population will number 1.1 million people by 2019, compared with 750,000 in 2009. By 2059, the projected Haredi Jewish population is estimated to between 2.73 million and 5.84 million, marking a 264%686% increase. Thus the total projected Israeli Jewish population by 2059 is estimated to between 8.82 million and 15.790 million.[42] In January 2014, it was reported by demographer Joseph Chamie that the projected population of Israeli Jews is expected to reach between 9.84 million by the year 2025 and 11.40 million by 2035.[43] For statistical purposes, there are three main metropolitan areas in Israel. The majority of the Jewish population in Israel is located in the central area of Israel within the Metropolitan area of Tel Aviv. The Metropolitan area of Tel Aviv is currently the largest Jewish population center in the world. It has been argued that Jerusalem, Israel’s proclaimed capital and largest city with a population of 732,100, and an urban area with a population of over 1,000,000 (including 280,000 Palestinian East Jerusalemites who are not Israeli citizens), with over 700,000 Israeli Jews[55] and Nazareth with a population of 65,500, and an urban area of nearly 200,000 people of which over 110,000 are Israeli Jews[56] should also be classified as metropolitan areas. By the time the State of Israel was proclaimed, the majority of Jews in the state and the region were Ashkenazi. Following the declaration of the state, a flood of Jewish migrants and refugees entered Israelboth from Europe and America and also from Arab and Muslim countries. Most of the Jewish immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s were Jewish Holocaust survivors, as well as Sephardic Jews and Mizrahi Jews (mostly Moroccan Jews, Algerian Jews, Tunisian Jews, Yemenite Jews, Bukharan Jews, Iranian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Kurdish Jews, and smaller communities, principally from Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Egypt, India, Turkey and Afghanistan). In recent decades other Jewish communities have also immigrated to Israel including Ethiopian Jews, Russian Jews and Bnei Menashe. Among Israeli Jews, 75% are Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel)19% from Europe, Americas and Oceania, and 9% from Asia and Africa, mostly the Muslim world. The Israeli government does not trace the diaspora origin of Israeli Jews. The CBS traces the paternal country of diaspora origin of Israeli Jews (including nonHalachically Jewish immigrants who arrived on the Law of Return) as of 2010 is as follows.[57] In Israel there are approximately 300,000 citizens with Jewish ancestry who are not Jewish according to Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law. Of this number approximately 10% are Christian and 89% are either Jewish or non-religious. The total number of conversions under the Nativ program of IDF was 640 in 2005 and 450 in 2006. From 2002 to 1 October 2007, a total of 2,213 soldiers have converted under Nativ.[58] In 2003, 437 Christians converted to Judaism; in 2004, 884; and in 2005, 733.[59] Recently several thousand conversions conducted by the Chief Rabbinate under the leadership of Rabbi Chaim Drukman have been annulled, and the official Jewish status over several thousand people who converted through the conversion court of the Chief Rabbinate since 1999 hangs in limbo as the proceedings continue regarding these individuals Jewish status. The vast majority of these individuals are former Soviet Union immigrants.[60] In his book from 2001 “The Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Culture and Military in Israel”, the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling identified and divided the modern Israeli society into seven population groups (seven subcultures): The secular upper-middle class group, the national religious group, the traditionalist Mizrahim group, the Orthodox religious group, the Arab citizens of Israel, the Russian immigrants group and the Ethiopian immigrants group. According to Kimmerling, each of these population groups have distinctive characteristics, such as place of resident, consumption patterns, education systems, communications media and more.[61] Today, Jews whose family immigrated from European countries and the Americas, on their paternal line, constitute the largest single group among Israeli Jews and consist of about 3,000,000[62] people living in Israel. About 1,200,000 of them are descended from or are immigrants from the former Soviet Union who returned from the diaspora after the fall of the Former Soviet Union 1991 (about 300,000 of them are not considered to be Jewish under halakha). Most of the other 1,800,000 are descended from the first Zionist settlers in the Land of Israel, as well as Holocaust survivors and their descendants, with an additional 200,000 having immigrated or descended from immigrants from English-speaking countries and South America. They have played a prominent role in various fields including the arts, entertainment, literature, sports, science and technology, business and economy, media, and politics of Israel since its founding, and tend to be the most affluent of Israeli Jews. Not all Jews immigrating to Israel from European countries are of Ashkenazi origin (the majority of French Jews are of Sephardic, and some Jews from the Asian Republics of the USSR are Mizrahi), and the Israeli government does not distinguish between Jewish communities in its census. During the first decades of Israel as a state, strong cultural conflict was going on between Mizrahi, Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews (mainly east European Ashkenazim). The roots of this conflict, which still exists to a much smaller extent in present-day Israeli society, stems from the many cultural differences between the various Jewish communities; this happened despite of the government’s encouragement of the “melting pot”. That is to say, all Jewish immigrants in Israel were strongly encouraged to “melt down” their own particular exile identities within the general social “pot” in order to become Israeli. The current most prominent European countries of origin of the Israeli Jews are as follows:[citation needed] The majority of Israeli Jews are Mizrahi.[63] The exact proportion of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish populations in Israel is unknown (since it is not included in the census); some estimates place Jews of Mizrahi origin at up to 61% of the Israeli Jewish population,[64] with hundreds of thousands more having mixed Ashkenazi heritage due to cross-cultural intermarriage. Jews from North Africa and Asia have come to be called “Mizrahi Jews”. Most African and Asian Jewish communities use the Sephardic prayer ritual and abide by the rulings of Sephardic rabbinic authorities, and therefore consider themselves to be “Sephardim” in the broader sense of “Jews of the Spanish rite”, though not in the narrower sense of “Spanish Jews”. Of late, the term Mizrahi has come to be associated with all Jews in Israel with backgrounds in Islamic lands. Cultural and/or “racial” biases against the newcomers were compounded by the fledgling state’s lack of financial resources and inadequate housing to handle the massive population influx. Thus, hundreds of thousands of new Sephardic immigrants were sent to live in tent cities in outlying areas. Sephardim (in its wider meaning) were often victims of discrimination, and were sometimes called schwartze (meaning “black” in Yiddish). Some believe that even worse than the housing discrimination was the differential treatment accorded the children of these immigrants, many of whom were tracked by the largely European education establishment into dead-end “vocational” high schools, without any real assessment of their intellectual capacities. Mizrahi Jews protested their unfair treatment, and even established the Israeli Black Panthers movement with the mission of working for social justice. The effects of this early discrimination still linger a half-century later, as documented by the studies of the Adva Center, a think tank on social equality, and by other Israeli academic research (cf., for example, Tel Aviv University Professor Yehuda Shenhav’s article in Hebrew documenting the gross under-representation of Sephardic Jewry in Israeli high school history textbooks.) All Israeli Prime Ministers have been Ashkenazi, although Sephardim and Mizrahim have attained high positions including ministerial positions, chief of staffs and presidency. The student bodies of Israel’s universities remain overwhelmingly Ashkenazi in origin, despite the fact that roughly half the country’s population is non-Ashkenazi. And the tent cities of the 1950s morphed into so-called “development towns”. Scattered over border areas of the Negev Desert and the Galilee, far from the bright lights of Israel’s major cities, most of these towns never had the critical mass or ingredients to succeed as places to live, and they continue to suffer from high unemployment, inferior schools, and chronic brain drain. While the Israeli Black Panthers no longer exist, the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition and many other NGOs carry on the struggle for equal access and opportunity in housing, education, and employment for the country’s underprivileged populacestill largely composed of Sephardim and Mizrahim, joined now by newer immigrants from Ethiopia and the Caucasus Mountains. Today over 2,500,000 Mizrahi Jews,[65] and Sephardic Jews live in Israel with the majority of them being descendants of the 680,000 Jews who fled Arab countries (

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June 19, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Latest aliya wave leaves thousands of Ethiopian Jews …

The last 119 Ethiopian Jews approved to make aliya were set to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, completing the immigration of the 1,300 persons whom the government had promised to bring to Israel by the end of the year. The families of the thousands still waiting to make aliya were left wondering when their family members would also be approved to make the move. According to the two latest cabinet decisions on the issue, held in November 2015 and in August 2016, some 9,000 Falash Mura, Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity, may be brought to Israel by the end of 2020, starting with the 1,300 in 2017. Sabine Hadad, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministrys Population and Immigration Authority, has stressed in the past that 9,000 is only the potential number, and that of those 9,000 people, the government will accept only those who meet the ministrys criteria. Alisa Bodner, spokeswoman to foreign media of the advocacy group Struggle for Ethiopian Aliya, has accused the ministry of not having upheld all of its commitments, specifically referring to Clause 5 of cabinet decision 1911, passed in 2016. The clause states that as long as the Population and Immigration Authority understands that the number of those eligible to enter the country according to this decision is significantly higher or lower than 1,300, it will be brought again before the cabinet for approval. Despite this requirement, This never happened, Bodner told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. The budget [for immigration] is going to be decided on in the next few days, and if those names [of those awaiting aliya] are not at the Prime Ministers Office, then they wont be included in the budget, she said. So theres a lot of concern that immigration will not continue in the coming year. She added that government representatives are being unresponsive to queries by activists. In response to a query by the Post, the interior ministers spokesman Barak Serry said: The Population and Immigration Authority completed its activities in accordance with the cabinets decision to absorb 1,300 immigrants from Ethiopia according to the criteria that were set. The data were transferred to the Prime Ministers Office. The decision regarding an additional quota should be made by the cabinet in a special resolution. To date, to the best of our knowledge, no proposal has been formulated for this matter and we have not been asked to address it. The Post sought to verify Bodners assertions regarding the Population and Immigration Authority, but Hadad did not respond to a query as to whether the authority had stated that there were more Ethiopians eligible for aliya. Ethiopian-Israeli MK Avraham Neguise, who has spearheaded efforts to bring Ethiopians eligible for aliya to Israel, told the Post on Wednesday that there is a positive approach toward the need to continue the aliya in 2018, but there is no final decision. We know that the Interior Ministry has identified that there are more people eligible under the cabinet decision and current criteria…, but the aliya cannot continue unless the cabinet has approved another budget for 2018, Neguise added. The MK expressed hope that a new resolution would be approved on the issue, noting that nobody has said no, but they say it is in the process of receiving the necessary approval. The interior minister has not brought it to the cabinet, he added, saying the responsibility lies with Interior Minister Arye Deri, in order to bring about a new cabinet decision and for the Finance Ministry to subsequently allocate the necessary funds for the aliya. But if the interior minister does not demand it, they wont do it voluntarily, Neguise asserted. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem said on Wednesday that once additional olim from Ethiopia are approved by the cabinet, it stands ready to raise the money needed to sponsor this second year of renewed Ethiopian aliya. The ICEJ invested $1.2 million in Ethiopian aliya this past year, including additional monies to assist with the critical absorption phase, as these Jewish communities adjust to the new language and culture of Israel. Christians from all over the world have been contributing to this humanitarian cause, including generous donations from African Christians, the organization noted. The great ingathering of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel is still continuing, and it is a real privilege and joy for our organization to play such a central role in this historic return to Zion, said Dr. Jrgen Bhler, president of the ICEJ. We know that these latest arrivals from the Ethiopia community will never be the same as they rejoin their families and become fully part of the modern miracle of Israel. Some of these families have been separated now for over two decades, and so it is a special honor for us to help bring them back together here in the Jewish homeland. Falash Mura is the name given to those of the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia and Eritrea who under compulsion and pressure from missionaries converted to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries. Since their ancestors converted to another religion, the Falash Mura are not covered by the Law of Return, which grants the right to immigrate and gain citizenship to anyone with a Jewish grandparent. The Falash Mura are brought to Israel under the Law of Entry and are required to convert to Judaism once in Israel. They receive the same absorption benefits granted to immigrants who come under the Law of Return. Abere Endeshaw, a leader of the Jewish community in Ethiopia, is waiting in Addis Ababa for his own chance to make aliya. This week is the last aliya of the year, he said. Today I witnessed some of the community members leaving Ethiopia and heading toward the Promised Land. Today I saw two sisters one heading home to Israel and one back to the community. I saw two brothers one heading home to Israel and one going back to the community, and many more. I wonder when the separation will stop. I wonder when the cries of a mother and father, sister and brother, aunt and uncle will stop and be united with happiness. I wish a very successful journey for the Jews all over the world who made aliya during this year, and I wish strength and hope for the remaining Jews who are waiting to go back home, Endeshaw said. Share on facebook

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May 11, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Ethiopian-Israeli singer tells his personal story and that …

Many musicians share fond memories of a first piano recital coiffed, quiffed and ready for one part charm, two parts humiliation. Others smile while remembering the first Arik Einstein song they clunked out on their brothers hand-me-down guitar. Gili Yalos first performance took place atop his fathers shoulders in the middle of the desert. His repertoire: the familiar village songs with which his mother lulled him to sleep. His audience: a group of Ethiopian wanderers losing hope by the minute. The trek from Ethiopia to Sudan was long, especially for a four-year old. Yalo was recounting Operation Moses, the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan during the 1984 famine to the Promised Land. We had no electricity in our village, Yalo explained. So I never heard the music of the world back then, only the live music my mother sang to me. Yalos mother was not a musician by trade, rather a musician by necessity. In Ethiopia, especially in the smaller villages, music was a way of life. While the men went to war, the women sang and drummed to uplift their spirits, he said. Boxed off from the world in a Sudanese refugee camp, Yalo, too, sought to uplift the spirits of his suffering beloved ones. After finally reaching Israel and settling in Safed, his horizon was broadened, and an affinity for Natan Yonatan paired with a class trip, a crowded school bus and a crappy microphone landed him an audition with Pirchei Yerushalayim, The Jerusalem Boys Choir. Yalo recalled, I went to the audition, sang the same song and the manager asked me if I had a passport. I told him that sadly I did not, to which he responded, Well, go get yourself one, because in two weeks youre coming with us to Paris. The choir toured everywhere from Los Angeles to Germany and beyond and with each new place Yalo visited, the nine-year-old choir boy gained greater insight into the worlds cultural vastness. [Touring] made me realize that the world is so much bigger than Israel. He continued, I also learned that you dont have to limit yourself to one single mindset. There are other cultures, other possibilities, and understanding that opens up your mind to the people who are different from you… the music youre not used to hearing. While his cultural exposure grew, his pride for his own culture diminished. [The Ethiopian culture] wasnt fashionable, Yalo explained. Teachers would yell at me for speaking Amharic, classmates would call me names, telling me to go back to the jungle. I was ashamed of the food, the traditional clothing. I thought Ethiopians were primitive, while Israelis seemed so sophisticated. Why, then, is the fashionably flawless Yalo standing before me in a vibrant blue-and-orange button- down, laden with the geometric patterns of traditional Ethiopian garb? And why are Selam and Africa the first two singles released off his debut self-titled solo album teeming with Ethiopian motifs, grooves and landscapes? Its in my DNA, he shared without hesitation. The real turning point, however, stemmed from an incident that happened about 10 years ago in Kiryat Malachi, when the owners of an apartment building refused to rent or sell to Ethiopian Jews. Yalo had experienced racism before, but never at this scale. When it happens to an entire building, you suddenly understand that the problem is much larger than you thought. I started wondering where I belonged if not in [Israeli] society. It was at this point that Yalo read up on his Ethiopian culture and discovered just how rich it truly was, 2000 years in the making. He fell in love with the Ethiopian manners, politeness and respect between human beings. It was something I was missing in Israel. Much to Yalos surprise, as he adopted the grooves and melodies of his native land, his career truly started to pick up, and the Israeli audiences were responsive. In most of my shows, the audience is usually only 15 to 20 percent Ethiopian. Even if Israelis dont understand the Amharic language, the melodies and grooves reel them in. There is something very energetic about the brass elements, kerar an Ethiopian string instrument resembling a guitar and the pentatonic scales associated with Ethiopian music that makes you want to get up and dance. For Yalo, this energy is essential: In a live performance, there is this circle of energy that grows and grows as the show continues. I feed off of the audience and they feed off of me. Is any of that energy lost in the studio? Studio recordings are a very personal procedure, Yalo said. You sit down at two in the morning, just you and your guitar, then go into the studio and its just you and the producer until you bring the band in. I was really frightened because I had never seen myself as a recording artist before. Im a performer through and through. That fear, particularly in the responsibility of recording my own lyrics, had taken up most of the studio room. Im proud that I finished the album because it allowed me to overcome that fear, which is my number one goal in life. While it took more than three years to come to fruition, the finished product is reflective of three years of dedication, perseverance and experience, both societal and personal, like his relationship with ex-wife Ester Rada, whose solo break encouraged Yalo to follow suit. While Rada toted Different Eyes as a breakup album, Yalo bears no grudges. He respects her and feels that she deserves every ounce of success. She is extremely talented, works hard, and I wish her all the luck on her solo path. He also respects Radas ability to shift gears from her first album. He believes that part of being a human and an artist means changing things up and keeping the ground burning under your feet, which is exactly what Yalo had to do when shooting the music video for his single, Selam. At first, they had planned to shoot the video using a drone, starting with a close-up on Yalo and panning out to the market place in Ethiopia. But we were running on Africa time… everyone there is late, Yalo chuckled, so the market was already closing down. The few shots that we did get felt too cold. His cameraman had also shot some footage that day just for fun cuts of Yalo singing with dozens of children behind him which evolved into the version seen today. A brilliant coincidence became a blessing in disguise. In contrast, Africa, the second of the albums singles released last month, was meticulously planned out. The bright colors, the nightlife, the dancing, the talent, those horses, the skateboards… I wanted to bring the next generation of Ethiopia to center stage. Despite the assumption that Africa is always in trouble, theres a bright future there, one that I truly believe in, he stated, his voice strong and assured. A confused young boy refusing to speak Amharic with his parents is now long gone. A confident man beaming with pride for his culture, his roots, his belonging stands in his place.Gili Yalo will perform his album release show at Tel Avivs Barby on December 20. Doors open at 20:30. Share on facebook

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May 11, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed


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