JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet unanimously approved a plan to improve the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.
The plan, approved Sunday at the regular Cabinet meeting, is designed to accelerate the integration process for the second-generation members of the Ethiopian immigrant community into Israeli society and eradicate displays of racism against the community.
Under the plan, young Ethiopian couples can receive mortgages starting from $68,000 in 2013 to $131,000 by 2016. In addition, the plan calls for assisting young Ethiopians in integrating into the labor market, including the establishment of special units for employment guidance.
In order to promote fair representation in the country’s civil service, 30 additional job slots will be allocated to members of the Ethiopian community. Two additional Ethiopian religious leaders also will be employed, and approximately 15 new religious leaders will be added in service to the Ethiopian community.
A public information plan also will be formulated to deal with displays of racism and prejudice against the Ethiopian community.
"I have personally met with members of the Ethiopian community and I am impressed that there is a new generation — younger, energetic, active — that takes the initiative, with aspirations, and especially with a strong desire to be integrated into Israeli society," Netanyahu said at the meeting.
He added that there is no place for racism in Israel, and said of the Ethiopians, "They are our flesh, they are part of us, and we will not tolerate any displays of racism against them."