Loading...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ethiopian Jews Battle Poverty, Prejudice in Israel

Once a poor immigrant from Ethiopia, Mehereta Baruch has leapt to fame in Israel as a star on a reality television show.

The 30-year-old actress is one of a tiny minority of the tens of thousands of black arrivals in the past two decades to achieve even a measure of prominence in a country where Ethiopians complain of routine discrimination by fellow Jews.

Some 60 percent are considered to be living in poverty compared to 20 percent of the general population, according to figures from Meyers-JDC-Brookdale, a prominent Israeli social research institute.

Jews of Ethiopian descent, tracing their roots to the biblical King Solomon, number about 105,000 among Israel's 6 million people today.

Another 20,000 Ethiopians are expected through 2007 after a pledge to speed up immigration of the Falasha Mura, Jews whose families converted to Christianity in the past 200 years and now want to come to Israel.

Reuters.com

No comments: