The Integration of Ethiopian-Israeli Adolescent Boys

A major national survey conducted by Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute in 2010 exposed the difficulties faced by Ethiopian-Israeli youth, particularly of the boys. There is a very large gap between the integration of the Ethiopian boys and girls, which far exceeds general gender differences. Nevertheless, very little attention has been given to the special problems of these boys and there has been almost no public discussion about how to improve their unique situation. The current study is the first to examine the factors that contribute to the gap between the Ethiopian-Israeli boys and the girls, and to identify programmatic directions to improve their integration.

In order to provide a comprehensive picture, the study included a number of components:

  • An analysis of data from studies and databases to identify the gaps in a broad range of aspects of integration between: 1. Ethiopian-Israeli boys and girls; 2. Ethiopian-Israeli boys and non-immigrant Jewish boys; 3. First and second generation Ethiopian-Israeli boys
  • Interviews with key informants about their perception of the situation and difficulties of Ethiopian-Israeli boys, of the causal factors and proposals for improvement
  • A review of the international literature, with an emphasis on the factors causing gender gaps among immigrant youth and minorities.

The analysis indicates large gaps between the Ethiopian-Israeli boys and Ethiopian-Israeli girls and between the Ethiopian-Israeli boys and non-immigrant Jewish boys in educational achievements, aspirations, social integration, parental supervision, risk behaviors and more.
Both the key informants and the literature emphasized a broad range of factors underlying these gaps and ways of addressing them in the family, school, and the community.

The study was funded with the assistance of Bader Philanthropies. The findings have been presented to representatives of the government and organizations working to integrate Ethiopian-Israeli adolescents into Israeli society and to key leadership groups in the Ethiopian-Israeli community. They considerably broaden the basis of knowledge on which to base policy planning, the development of new programs and the adaptation of existing programs to the special needs of Ethiopian-Israeli boys. They also contribute to the growing body of international knowledge about the needs of immigrant youth and in particular of immigrant adolescent boys and appropriate ways of advancing them.