A Survey of Ethiopian-Israelis in Ramla

In 2001-2002, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, in cooperation with local authorities, established neighborhood centers in 10 cities with large concentrations of Ethiopian-Israelis. The centers coordinate municipal care and promote the development of services and programs for these immigrants, while increasing cooperation among various agencies, pooling resources and fostering community support.

To learn about the needs of these immigrants in a variety of areas, and to provide information inputs for the work of the centers, a survey is conducted of the Ethiopian-Israeli households in the neighborhoods where the centers have been established. This report, the sixth in the series, presents data from a survey conducted in Ramla. Altogether, data on 318 households were collected, representing 85% of the Ethiopian-Israeli families residing in the neighborhoods where the survey was conducted.

A number of important findings arise from the data:

  • About one-third (31%) of the adult Ethiopian-Israelis in Ramla have been in Israel for more than 15 years. However, more than half (56%) have been in the country for only six to 10 years.
  • There has been considerable integration into the work force by Ethiopian-Israelis in Ramla. Nevertheless, the overall employment rates for those aged 18-64 are lower than among the general Jewish population – 45% for men and 32% for women.
  • The highest employment rates are among those aged 26-44 (76% among men and 48% among women). The rates remain relatively high in older age groups: 57% of the men aged 45-54 are employed. These figures are apparently related to the length of time that Ramla’s Ethiopian-Israeli community has been in Israel.
  • Among men aged 18-25, almost all were attending some type of framework (educational, military, National Service, employment) or were looking for work.
  • The proportion of dual parent families of working age in which both spouses are employed rises significantly with length of stay in Israel. A similar trend exists among single parent families.
  • Only a small percentage of the Ethiopian-Israelis in Ramla have participated in vocational training courses. However, one-third of those under 45 who have not undergone training wish to do so.
  • The non-employed noted that they primarily require vocational guidance, as well as assistance making contact with potential employers, in order to be integrated into the work force. The women also require assistance in paying for childcare during work hours.
  • Almost all of the children aged 4-13 attend school. Two-thirds of the two-year-old children and 94% of the three-year-old children are in day care. According to parents, 5% of those aged 14-17 do not attend any educational framework.
  • Of those families with school children, 40% have children who lack at least some textbooks.
  • Of those families with very young children, 60% have no reading books at home.
  • Among children living in the community, 60% of those aged 6-13, and 42% of those aged 14-17, participate in after-school enrichment or educational programs.

As in other cities where this survey is conducted, the findings are being utilized for planning intervention programs for Ethiopian-Israelis in Ramla, and serve as the basis for national policymaking.

The survey was initiated and funded by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption as part of the program to develop the neighborhood centers