February 20, 2006 / Shevat 22, 5766
Half of the Ethiopian community in Israel is under the age of 19, and a vast majority live in cities throughout the country. Yet most native Israelis have virtually no contact with them, thus fueling prejudice and poor integration. Headlines about Ethiopians usually focus on abuse and violence in their community.
Within the framework of thirty years of Ethiopian aliyah, the Jewish Agency has launched an extensive publicity campaign aimed at Israelis to learn about their Ethiopian brethren. The campaign’s objectives are to shatter the stereotypical image of Ethiopian olim, improve their image and show that second and third generation olim can become an integral part of Israeli society if given a chance. Today, nearly a third of the Ethiopian community was born in Israel.
Highlighting successful people from different fields including sports, medicine, military service, academia, and law, the publicity films present the Ethiopians as productive citizens of the State of Israel.
The campaign also focuses on several practical ways of generating contact between the olim and native Israelis through various areas of voluntary activities. The holidays are also emphasized as an opportunity to bring olim and Israelis together.
The Jewish Agency’s “Babait Beyahad – At Home-Together” project is organizing the campaign together with the Ministry of Absorption. A media campaign in Amharic encourages people to participate in the “Babyit Beyahad” project which brings together veteran Israelis and olim.