MembersThe Saga of Ethiopian Jews’ Return to Zion

A candid discussion with a member of the community about the struggles for Ethiopian Jews and how to solve them

By Rachel Avraham | | Topics: Aliyah, Ethiopian Jews
Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90

Pnina Tamano-Shata, who formerly served as Israel’s Minister for Aliyah and Absorption, is the first Knesset member of Ethiopian heritage. According to some analysts, after serving in the Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu unity government, she could soon be appointed as a minister once again in the government of Naftali Bennett.

However, the fact that Pnina Tamano-Shata has made it so far politically should not be taken for granted, as the Ethiopian Jewish community has had an uphill battle integrating into Israeli society. Today, 85% of Ethiopian Israelis work entry-level jobs that require zero professional expertise. In the Health Ministry for example, 70% of the Ethiopians employed are doing janitorial and delivery jobs. Indeed, much more needs to be done to integrate Ethiopian Jewry into Israeli society.

Nevertheless, the story of Ethiopian Jewry is strikingly like that of other Jewish communities. Back in Ethiopia, the...

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