There are around 135,000 Ethiopian-Israelis, many having come in massive waves of immigration in the 1980s and 1990s. However, almost 40% have arrived since the year 2000.
Poverty is widespread in the Ethiopian community, with around 39% of families living in poverty, compared with 14% of all Jewish families. Although the rate of Ethiopians finishing high school has improved in recent years, the community still lags behind, with only 48% graduating, compared to 60% of all Jewish teenagers. Rising housing costs has also disproportionately affected young Ethiopian-Israelis families.
Other vulnerable communities in Israel include minority groups like immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
Translating as ‘advocate for justice’ in Amharic, Tebeka was started by Israel’s first Ethiopian Israeli attorneys and professionals in 2000 in order to safeguard the rights of Ethiopian immigrants and ensure that community members in need have access to quality legal services are comprehensive.
Tebeka's legal department deals with Ethiopian-Israelis who suffer from discrimination in the workplace and public spaces, taking almost 1,000 cases each year in its seven branches across Israel. It also occasionally uses impact litigation as a strategy to reduce the marginalisation of the Ethiopian community.