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Clashes as Immigrants Protest, ‘We’re Stuck in Centers’

Ethiopian immigrants say failure to update grants is leaving many in absorption centers. Nine arrested at protest.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 12/3/2013, 8:55 PM

Clashes as immigrants protest over housing
Clashes as immigrants protest over housing
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Immigrants from Ethiopia held a protest outside Knesset on Tuesday over the benefits the state gives new citizens.

The protesters say that the state has failed to update benefits to reflect present-day housing prices. The result, they warned, is that many new immigrants are stuck in absorption centers with no ability to buy homes of their own.

Many immigrants are eligible for housing grants and loans totaling nearly 300,000 shekels. However, activists in the immigrant community say that with housing prices at an all-time high, many are unable to find a home they can afford despite the assistance.

Some protesters blocked a road, in violation of the terms of their protest license. Police intervened and nine people were arrested. Two officers were lightly hurt.

Ethiopian immigrants have been protesting over the community’s housing crisis for over a year. Last year activist Dr. Avraham Negussie discussed the issue with Arutz Sheva.

Negussie explained that many immigrants do not have steady work, or have low-income jobs, and so are not eligible for loans beyond what the government provides. Protesters are asking the government to add to the mortgage aid rather than giving the same money as rent assistance, he said.