Bring an End to the Social Injustice in Israel towards the Etheopians

The Ethiopian Scholarship Project at IDC Herzliya

The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, ranked as one of the finest academic institutions in Israel, has launched a program for outstanding Ethiopian Israelis to earn college degrees.

Despite the extreme hardships these fine, Ethiopian youngsters underwent during most of their childhood, they have not been deterred from making courageous efforts to fulfill the Zionist dream and become productive and giving citizens of the State of Israel. The Ethiopian community generally does not have the resources to prepare their young people for higher education, and IDC sees it as a prime objective to assist them through higher education to integrate into Israeli society and meet their true potential. Without this crucial assistance this community will stagnate and continue to suffer from alienation.

“Without IDC’s insistence that I push myself in order to reach my full potential, instead of allowing my objective disadvantages distract me – I would never have found myself holding up in an academic environment” Shlomo Verkhana – IDC First Year Government

IDC recognizes the obstacles facing these students and has designed a program to help them past these hurdles. The lack of proper environmental encouragement has prevented many Ethiopian youth from gaining access to institutions of higher learning. Therefore, IDC’s pilot program evaluates applicants not only based on their high school grades and standardized test scores but also on activities that demonstrate leadership and social commitment, such as their record in the Israel Defense Forces and a history of voluntarism and community involvement.

“I felt that I was being evaluated for my true potential and not just being looked upon as a spreadsheet of grade point averages” Tigist Gateon - IDC First Year Law

Another barrier is their families’ economic conditions. Many of the students work in order to support families of 5 or 6 siblings and parents who are elderly, speak little Hebrew and exist on meager allowances from the National Insurance Fund. They usually live in small apartments in development towns which lack even a minimal learning environment. Therefore, the students attending IDC’s pilot program are granted scholarships that not only cover their tuition but also include a stipend for living expenses, including accommodations closer to campus so they may be in a propitious learning environment as well as share the company of their peers.

“Attaining a BA degree was once beyond my wildest dreams and today it seems like a reality” Daniel Desta - IDC First year Government

These young Ethiopian Israelis feel strongly committed to the nation Jewish identities. Nonetheless, they have taken on a challenging process of integration and adjustment which deserves careful attention and support. IDC’s program includes a coordinator situated on campus to help them adjust to academic life, cope with any problems they may encounter and guide them towards success. In addition, students may receive tutors for classes should they have difficulty. In addition, the students are expected to participate in Israel at Heart’s public diplomacy missions during their summer vacations and to perform community service. Members of the faculty and administration at IDC Herzliya are carefully evaluating the pilot program throughout its first year, though the impressive record of the other Ethiopian students at IDC Herzliya, all of whom are scholarship recipients, gives good reason to be both optimistic and excited in adding yet another brick in the Zionist dream.

The cost of supporting one student per year is $12,000 ($6,000 Tuition + $4,000 Living Expenses + $2,000 Personal Tutoring & Social and Cultural activities). Please consider being a part of this program which is fundamental to strengthening the State of Israel and the bright future of the Jewish people.