On July 5th, 1950, the Knesset unanimously passed the Law of Return which gives the Israeli citizenship to every Jews who want to immigrate to Israel. The Law of Return, criticized by some Human Right Organizations , symbolizes the legislative concretisation of the Zionist dream: the return and the redemption of the Jewish people in Eretz Israel. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, massive waves of immigration came from Europe after the Holocaust, North Africa and Middle East in the 50s and 60s and finally from the former Soviet Union after 1989. Those massive immigrations from different countries, continents and cultures represent a key challenge for the state. The government has to deal with different religious, social, economic and cultural backgrounds in order to integrate the new immigrants in the Israeli society and economy. Though, can only immigration explain the socio-economic cleavages in Israeli society?
[...] In 1991, a report to a Knesset committee concluded that Arabs constituted 55% of those below the poverty line in Israel. At the birth of the State, Behor Shalom Shitrit, as Minorities minister, tried to promote the integration and civil equality of the Arab community but, one year after its creation, Ben Gourion eliminated the ministry. The main problem is that the latent segregation which hits the Israeli Arabs is not considered as a main issue by the authorities. Many organizations, such as the national committee of Heads of Local Arab Councils or Sikkuy, a joint Jewish-Arab body, try to promote equality and integration. [...]
[...] Beause they don't recognize the legitimacy of the secular State of Israel, the haredim are not involved into the society and live in an hermetic world. The social distance between the religious and nonreligious society is reinforced by residential concentration and educational segregation. A striking paradox is that most of the haredim institutions are state-supported, such as the haredim schools, in spite of their autonomy and the fact that the haredi community don't recognize the State. Consequently, the communal split between the haredi community and the rest of Israel represents a challenge to the nation's integrative capacities. [...]
[...] It can be assumed, especially about Ethiopian immigrants, that only in the long run with social bargaining and intermarriage will the socio-economic gaps between the new immigrants and veteran Israelis be significantly reduced, as was the experience with immigrants from Asia and Africa who arrived in Israel following the creation of the State. II. Nonetheless, the Alyot can't be the scapegoat of all the socio- economic problems Nonetheless, the waves of immigration can't explain alone all the socio- economic problems. [...]
[...] Their presence hits Israeli unskilled workers very hard that's why the Bank of Israel advocates to reduce their number in its 2006 rapport. The current situation of the integration of Ethiopian immigrants perfectly reflects the issues tied to massive immigration. Descends of the lost tribe of Dan, they were included under the Law of Return and arrived in Israel through Operation Moses (1984) and Operation Shlomo (1991). Most of them were uneducated or even illiterate when they came. Despite the help of the government, due to their low level of educational and vocational skills, a large percentage of Ethiopian immigrants work as unskilled laborers and they still belong to the low level of society with a very low rate of employment and a very low income per standard individual compared with verteran Israelis. [...]
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