'Most Ethiopians marry within community'

New data revealed about

A high proportion of Ethiopian Israelis marry into their community, according to data about the community released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday. Ninety-three percent of Ethiopian men marry Ethiopian women, while the figure of women marrying Ethiopian men was 85%, averaging out at 89%. The proportion of divorced couples proved to be only slightly higher than the rate in the general population. The CBS report was issued to mark the Sigd holiday, celebrated by Ethiopian Jews on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Heshvan (Monday), to commemorate their acceptance of the Torah. Israel's 119,000 Ethiopians mostly live in the central and southern parts of the country. Less than 0.5% of the community resides in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Statistics were also compiled concerning education, showing that the rate of those eligible for high school matriculation certificates has risen by 6 percentage points in the last 10 years, to 36% - thus reducing the gap between Ethiopians and Israelis as a whole, whose matriculation eligibility rate went from 52% in 1998, to 55% in 2008. The dropout rate, however, was found to be lower among Israeli Ethiopian students than among their native Israeli counterparts - 1.54% and 1.78%, respectively, in the previous school year. Of the Ethiopian immigrants living in Israel today, 19.3% made aliya before or during 1989's Operation Moses, 46.5% came in Operation Solomon in 1991 and 34.2% made aliya between 2000 and 2008. In 2008, 2,183 babies were born in Israel to women of Ethiopian origin.