The Cabinet voted on Sunday to allocate an additional 30 civil service positions in the year 2011 to academics from the Ethiopian community.
The stated goals of the decision are to increase the community's representation in the civil service and to create a generation of future academic civil servants who will be able to integrate into senior management.
Explaining the decision, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "The great challenge of integrating members of the Ethiopian community into Israeli society also requires their integration into the civil service. I am certain that members of the community who integrate into these positions will be role models for many, and will create a generation of civil servants who will integrate into senior management in the future.”
Netanyahu also took the opportunity to wish the Beta Yisrael community – otherwise known as the Ethiopian Jews - a belated happy Sigd holiday, which occurred three weeks ago, on the 29th of the month of Cheshvan.
The Prime Minister’s Office reports that 120,000 members of the Ethiopian community currently live in Israel, or 1.53% of the total population. Of these, 4,500 have an academic education, and 782 are employed as civil servants - 1.37% of Israel’s total. Some 44% of civil servants are academics, and 17.2% of Ethiopians in the civil service, in particular. The decision is therefore designed to bring about a fairer representation.