Yemenite Jews en route to Israel.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Science, Technology and Space Ministry announced on Wednesday that to mark the Sigd holiday for the first time, it will allocate scholarships totaling some NIS 1.8 million to Ethiopian students.
“This is another significant step to minimize gaps in Israeli society at the initiative of the ministry,” Minister Ofir Akunis said.
“This is a real expression of social justice and assistance that will enable Ethiopian immigrants equal opportunities for success.”
The scholarships will be awarded for one academic year to students across all fields of study and will go toward the cost of tuition and living expenses.
Students pursuing undergraduate degrees would be eligible to receive NIS 15,000, master’s degree students would be eligible for NIS 50,000, PhD students would receive grants of NIS 80,000 and post-docs would be able to receive scholarships up to NIS 100,000.
The Education Ministry also announced on Wednesday the education system marked both the Sigd holiday in schools as well as the day of expulsion from Arab countries and Iran.
“The Education Ministry marked two exciting holiday events in the history of the Jewish people,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday.
“Beginning this year, due to the recommendations of the Biton Committee, the children of Israel will learn the whole story of the Jewish people, the story of the [Ethiopian- Israeli] writer Girma Mengistu, the story on the Egoz ship and the tale of the amazing Zionist journey of different communities that make up all the wonderful stories of the Jewish people,” he said.
As part of the Sigd holiday, schools held educational activities, including recounting stories of Ethiopian immigrants, and holding discussions on their absorption in Israel.
In addition, schools marked the day of expulsion from Arab countries and Iran, to be held annually on November 30. Students watched testimonial videos of Mizrahi Jews recounting their aliya experiences, went on school tours of museums for Mizrahi culture and history, and heard live testimonies from Mizrahi immigrants.
Implementing the holiday was one of the recommendations of the Biton Committee, released in July, which was tasked with enhancing Eastern-Jewish cultural studies within the general education curriculum.
Bennett launched the committee some six months ago, and appointed as its head, Erez Biton, the first poet of Mizrahi descent to win the Israel Prize in Literature, in 2015.