In the past four years, the number of Ethiopian Jews requesting welfare income supplements has dropped drastically, by a startling 39%. In the past year alone, the number has dropped by 13%, reports the Government Employment Agency.
Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) said, "We have a national goal to successfully integrate Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society."
Though the number of Ethiopians requesting welfare supplements is still three times that of the general population, the statistics are encouraging, showing a significant drop in the number of Ethiopians requesting the government aid.
In fact, the number dropped from 3,944 in January 2013 to just 2,387 last September.
Israel is currently home to 86,000 Ethiopian Jews, with 51,000 of them employable and aged between 15 and 65.
43% of Ethiopian Jews who found employment in the past year were aged between 15-44; 23% were between the ages of 45-54; and the remaining 34% were above the age of 55. All of these people had requested welfare supplements in the past but had not returned to the welfare office as of the end of September.
These statistics prove the drop in the number of requests is not the result of an aging population who request pensions instead of welfare, but the result of a larger number of Ethiopians successfully finding employment.
One of the ways Israel works to help Ethiopian immigrants is by providing them with professional training. The Government Employment Agency, together with other government offices, gives special coupons to the Ethiopian community. 101 of these coupons had been given out from January 2015 until September 2016.
Haim Katz said, "I am thankful to see positive change...we must work as much as we can in order to integrate Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society. The Welfare Ministry is leading the government in the development of services which will aid the Ethiopian community. Only in the past year did we create a multi-year plan costing 20 million NIS per year, which includes a special program for Ethiopian families with language and acclimation difficulties, helping them find jobs and providing support for at-risk Ethiopian youth."
Government Employment Agency head Boaz Hirsh said, "I am proud to be directly contributing to the integration of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel. This is an important process that will help reduce poverty and advance social mobility for the Ethiopian community. We're not only helping individuals find work, we're helping entire families, and it's easy to see how our projects help strengthen the family unit."