The Ethiopian community in Israel: Segregation and the creation of a racial cleavage

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This study examines the processes that led to the creation of a segregated Ethiopian community in Israel and its implications for the development of a racially-based stratification system. Interviews with thirty Ethiopian immigrants reveal that ethnic ties played an important role in creating a segregated ethnic community. Many families were pushed to the neighbourhood by co-ethnic realtors or were influenced by relatives and friends who had already settled there. However, no ethnic networks were found in the domain of employment. This absence coupled with low human capital made joblessness an acute problem for many Ethiopian immigrants. Overall, Ethiopian immigrants' high residential concentration was perceived as a barrier for the successful integration of the young generation. Considering Ethiopian immigrants' lack of social and economic resources, there is concern that their segregation will be exacerbated in the future, leading to social marginalization and the creation of a racial cleavage in Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-480
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Council for Advanced Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel, and the Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children, and Work at the University of Chicago. I am grateful to Yael Tarkai, whose contribution to the research has been invaluable. I would also like to thank Steven Kaplan, Donald Levine, Alisa Lewin, Omar McRoberts, Barbara Schneider, Liza Weinstein, participants at the Urban Workshop at the University of Chicago, and the two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.


  • Ethiopian immigrants
  • Integration
  • Israel
  • Segregation
  • Stratification


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