ethiopian protest 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A new initiative for absorbing Ethiopian olim into the public service was approved by Cabinet ministers in Sunday's weekly Cabinet meeting.
"The great challenge of integrating members of the Ethiopian community into Israeli society requires their integration into the public service as well," Minister of Immigrant Absorption Zeev Boim said of the decision.
Ethiopians make up 1.5 percent of the Israeli population, but hold only 1.1% of government positions, with even greater under-representation at the senior management levels.
The Ethiopians' integration into the senior levels of the civil service is a particular focus of the initiative. "The public service must send a message to Israeli society that will see academia-trained members of the [Ethiopian] community working at position befitting their talents," said Boim.
To that end, a quota of fifteen senior management positions will be reserved for qualifying Ethiopians with advanced degrees. In addition, 10% of positions for students, mostly interns and assistants, will be reserved for Ethiopian students.
The initiative also includes developing new civil service examinations that will be better suited to Ethiopian applicants. According to an Immigrant Absorption Ministry spokesperson, many Ethiopian applicants "are qualified and trained, but simply can't pass the test," primarily due to language difficulties.
To correct this, a joint committee of Civil Service Commission and Ministry of Immigrant Absorption representatives has been working for two months to rewrite the examinations. Though the committee's recommendations are not yet completed, the new exams will almost certainly include sections in Amharic and will allow some answers to be given orally. Some small parts of the examinations, such as certain situational simulations, will be removed.
Finally, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry and the Civil Service Commission have offered government ministries special incentives to hire Ethiopian olim. The Commission is charged with allocating salaried positions to the ministries. According to the new plan, a ministry that hires an Ethiopian oleh will have these allocations increased.