Israel's civil service has a dearth of Ethiopian employees

3 mins read

Civil Service Commission says just 1.5 percent of Israel’s 74 thousand Civil Service staff come from Ethiopian community.
Telem Yahav, Danny Adeno Abebe and Dani Spector
Contrary to the Fair Representation Law, very few members of Israel’s Ethiopian community work at the country’s government ministries, and several ministries don’t even have a single worker from among the community, according to Civil Service Commission figures obtained by Ynet’s sister publication, Yedioth Ahronoth. The figures are expected to appear in a report that will be submitted to the Knesset in the coming weeks
Members of the community have taken to the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to protest what they say is systemic racism in Israel, after a video showing an apparently unprovoked attack on an Ethiopian Israeli IDF soldier by police.

Police arrest a protester in Tel Aviv (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Police arrest a protester in Tel Aviv (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

According to the Civil Service Commission, of the country’s 73,963 Civil Service workers in total, just 1,159 – or 1.56 percent – are from the Ethiopian community. The numbers include only staffers at the government ministries and employees in the health system, and not teachers or members of the security forces.
Police arrest a protester in Tel Aviv (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The figures show, for example, that just nine out of a total of 4,033 Courts Administration workers are Ethiopian (0.22 percent), with only four members of the Ethiopian community employed at the Prime Minister’s Office, out of a total of 857 employees in all (0.46 percent).
And the numbers are much the same at the Finance Ministry (five out of 1,087, or 0.45 percent), the Economy Ministry (14 out of 1,420, or 0.98 percent) the Foreign Ministry (five out of 1,250, or 0.4 percent), and others.
Meanwhile, some government offices, such as the Communications Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the National Security Council, don’t have even one member of the Ethiopian community on their payrolls.
Absurdly, the Civil Service Commission itself, with 306 workers in total, employs only two Ethiopians.
Some government entities, on the other hand, do meet the requirements of the law. Of the 581 employees in the Knesset, for example, 14 are members of the Ethiopian community – a representation rate of 2.4 percent.
The protests in Tel Aviv on Sunday saw thousands of people blocking the main traffic arteries, effectively creating a massive city-wide gridlock at the peak of rush hour.
The previously peaceful demonstration took a violent turn later in the day, with clashes between protesters and police in Rabin Square that left dozens wounded, most of them police, and led to multiple arrests.
Police ultimately used stun grenades and water cannons to disperse the crowd, which led to claims of excessive violence by officers. The police said in response that they had taken care to show restraint in the face of provocation.

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