Tebeka - Advocacy for Equality & Justice for Ethiopian Israelis
1. Cultural differences: InEthiopia, most Ethiopian Jews lived in rural villages where there was no running water, electricity, or other basic conveniences. When Ethiopian Jews arrived inIsrael, they were shocked by and averse to the Westernized Israeli culture and social life. They lacked basic skills required to navigate in the legal and/or social systems and had no ability or knowledge to handle the Israeli power structure or bureaucracy. Of particular concern to the new immigrants was Israeli discrimination, which stigmatized them and hampered their opportunities to attain basic rights. Such attitudes made their integration into mainstream Israeli society problematic and caused social, economic, and other difficulties.
2. Bridging socio-economical gaps: Ethiopian-Israeli Jews are typically marginalized by the general society. They live in ghettoes, either in low-income neighborhoods or in peripheral areas of the country. These communities are usually characterized by a high rate of unemployment and a low level of income.
3. Bridging educational gaps: By the time they reach high school, the combination of poverty and poor educational achievement and adjustment result in a relatively high rate of at-risk children and youth; a higher rate of Ethiopian juvenile delinquency exists
All of the above contributes to a strong feeling of alienation and discrimination among the members of the Ethiopian community, especially the younger generation.
The growing cadres of excellent young people--both from academia and from the military--present a brighter future for the Ethiopian Jewish. This extraordinarily powerful group that has made it against all odds is a hope and example for others. They can be the leading group to create a social and economical network that will assist others to find suitable work. They also hold the promise to change the perception of Ethiopian Jews that most Israelis have.
Tebeka strives to empower the Ethiopian-Israeli community, both socially and economically. We wish to see its members well integrated into every realm of Israeli society, and enjoy their rights as equal citizens. In this context, community members will take responsibility for spearheading their integration while seeking to preserve the identity and unique culture of their community.
- To ensure justice and equality and protect the fundamental rights of Ethiopian-Israelis. To strive to abolish discrimination and racism directed against individuals and the community as a whole.
- To promote an understanding of life in a democratic society based on the values of equality and justice. To encourage the community to take responsibility to forge its own future and to participate in the task of furthering tolerance to makeIsraela multicultural and just society.
- To cultivate, strengthen, and empower a social and professional community leadership, and to seek to open social channels to help Ethiopian-Israelis become integrated in all parts of Israeli society.
Areas of Activity:
- Raising Awareness and Empowering Communities: Helping Ethiopian immigrants understand their legal rights to ensure that they benefit from the same rights and privileges as every Israeli citizen.
- Legal Action: Litigating on behalf of Ethiopian immigrants and reclaiming civil rights which have been ignored, working with executive policy makers.
- Leadership Development: Developing a cadre of educated professional young leadership who will strengthen the community by claiming leadership positions in public, non-profit, and corporate sectors throughout the country.
- Defending Children’s Rights: facilitating the integration of Ethiopian-Israeli children in Israeli society and ensuring both their rights and personal welfare.