ETHIOPIAN IMMIGRANTS are greeted by loved ones at Ben-Gurion Airport..
(photo credit: AVI HAYOUN)
This past year saw the lowest number of Ethiopian olim since 2000, with only 91 Ethiopians making Aliyah in 2015, less than half that of the previous year, according to a report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday ahead of Sigd, a national holiday marked by Ethiopian Jews.
According to the annual report, the Ethiopian population in Israel stood at some 141,000 at the end of 2015 – 85,700 who were born in Ethiopia and 55,500 born in Israel to Ethiopian fathers.
The majority of the Ethiopian population lives in two central localities – 38% in the Center and 24% in the South, with Netanya having the largest Ethiopian community at 11,400, and Kiryat Malachi with the highest percentage of Ethiopians, 16.8%, in its community.
The Ethiopian population, the report said, was a relatively young one – 28% were children up to the age 14 and just six percent of the population was over 65.
Some 90% of Ethiopians married within their community, according to the report, which found that, in 2013, the average age for an Ethiopian man to wed was 28.8 years-old, 1.1 years above the Jewish male average, while the average age for an Ethiopian woman to wed stood at 25.9-years-old, .2 years above the Jewish female average.
Meanwhile, 3,348 babies were born to Ethiopian mothers in 2015, according to the report, which noted that the average Ethiopian woman gives birth to 2.8 children during her lifetime.
The average gross monthly household income for Ethiopian families stood at NIS 12,568 compared to a national household average of NIS 18,671, according to the report.
The report also determined that the average Ethiopian household has monthly consumption expenditures of NIS 10,238 compared to the national average of NIS 15,407, representing a 34% gap.
With regards to education, the 2014/15 academic year saw 47.8% of Ethiopian students in elementary through high schools study in the state education system, whereas 48.4% study in the state-religious education system.
The percentage of Ethiopian students to take the matriculation exam stood at 89% in 2015, compared to 94% of the general Jewish population.
Furthermore in the 2014/15 academic year, 2,966 of roughly 300,000 students studying at institutions of higher learning in Israel were Ethiopian. Of those, 87.1% pursued undergraduate degrees, 12% were studying for a Master’s degree and 0.6% pursued PhDs.
Derived from the Hebrew word for bowing or prostration, “sgida,” Sigd is celebrated on the 29th of Heshvan
– 50 days following Yom Kippur.
On the holiday, the Ethiopian community rejoices for the renewal of the alliance between the people, God and His Torah and holds communal self-examination, in addition to that held in private during Yom Kippur. In accordance with tradition, the public must examine itself and amend itself socially to be worthy to return to Jerusalem from exile.