A Survey of Ethiopian Immigrants in the Azorim and Dora Neighborhoods, Netanya

In 2000-2001, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, in cooperation with local authorities, established 10 centers in neighborhoods with a large concentration of Ethiopian immigrants. The role of the centers is to coordinate the care of these immigrants within the municipality and promote the development of services and programs for them while increasing cooperation among various agencies, pooling resources and fostering community support.

To learn the needs of these immigrants in a variety of areas and provide information inputs for the work of the centers, a survey is conducted of the Ethiopian immigrant households in each of the 10 neighborhoods. This report presents data from the survey conducted in the Azorim and Doraneighborhoods of Netanya in August through November, 2000. Data were gathered on 362 families, comprising about 70% of the neighborhoods’ Ethiopian immigrant families.

A number of central directions arise from the data:

  • Ethiopian immigrants in Netanya are relatively new in the country: 27% have been in Israel for five years or less, and 42% for six to 10 years.
  • The employment rate among men aged 26-44 is 66% (compared to 84% among all Jewish men in this age group), and it declines sharply starting at age 45.
  • The percentage of employed women is very low; even among younger women it does not rise above 31%.
  • As length of time in Israel increases, there is a significant rise in the percentage of families in which both the husband and wife are employed, and in the rate of single parents who are working.
  • Most of the men who are not employed have an employment history, having recently lost their jobs due to the economic downturn; they require assistance, primarily in the form of placement. Unlike the men, most of the non-employed women have no employment history in Israel; their primary need is for assistance in paying for childcare during work hours.
  • The immigrants’ command of Hebrew is weak: About 25% of the men and 30% of the women are unable to conduct and understand a simple conversation in Hebrew, and 40% are unable to read or write in Hebrew.
  • Almost all of the children aged four to 17 attend school. Among younger children, however, the percentage enrolled in pre-school frameworks is lower than the national rate – 68% among three-year-olds and 38% among two-year-olds, compared to 82% and 68%, respectively. An effort should be made to increase the integration of young children into pre-school frameworks.
  • Among the children who live in the community, only 30% of those aged six to 13, and 22% of those aged 14 to 17, participate in enrichment or academic support programs. An effort should be made to increase participation in after-school educational programs.
  • Participation by adults in educational programs is sparse, although those who do participate express satisfaction. The primary reason for the low level of participation is a lack of information.

The survey findings have served as input for the planning of intervention programs in the two neighborhoods.

This study was implemented at the initiative of, and funded by, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption as part of a program to develop the neighborhood centers.