Data recently released by the Israel Prison Service show that of the jailed teenagers at the Ofek detention center half are of Ethiopian descent. The Ofek detention center is the only detention facility in Israel for adolescents under 18. The data shows that the rate of Israeli Ethiopians detainees is almost 12 times that of their representative rate in the general population.
In absolute figures, 27 out of the 65 Jewish teenagers were of Ethiopian descent (41.5 percent). Most of the Israeli Ethiopian detainees are imprisoned on property offenses convictions. Others are serving time for assault and intimidation, robbery, sexual offenses, battery and one for manslaughter and one for disturbing the public order.
"This is not just an Israeli Ethiopian problem, it is a problem of the entire Israeli society," said Ziva Mekonen-Dagu, the head of the Israel Association of Ethiopian Jews to Ynet. "No child is born bad, these children become victims. If the welfare system took care of them, these children would not have gotten into these situations," she continued.
According to Knesset member, Michal Rozin, the data should cause the government to take action. "The high incidence of youth crime is caused by disadvantages in resources and in infrastructure. Therefor, the government should increase resources to this community," Rozin said.
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