Leveling the playing field for Ethiopian professionals

33 year-old Yuval Getahun found a job through Olim Together

Yuval Getahun was seven years old when Operation Moses brought him from his native Ethiopia to Israel, but 26 years later, many Israelis still see him as an outsider. So much so that Yuval, like the 4,500 other Ethiopian immigrants with university degrees, was unable to find a job that matched his skill-level and education. After graduating with a law degree from Haifa University  – and even working briefly in the field – Yuval couldn’t find work. He searched diligently for six months – making phone calls, sending out resumes – only to find that not one prospective employer would grant him an interview. Why? Because he was Ethiopian. That’s where Olim Together came in. Since its founding in 2006, Olim Together has helped place 250 Ethiopians with university degrees in jobs related to their field. Yuval had heard about the program – which aims to create a network of 500 Ethiopian Israeli professionals within five years – from a friend. After his acceptance, Yuval began the five-month program, working with a mentor and learning invaluable job search skills. A month after graduating, Yuval had landed an enviable position. “I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t found this organization,” Yuval said of Olim Together. Today, 33-year-old Yuval is the assistant to the CEO of the Emeq Hefer regional council in central Israel. Someday, Yuval says, he’d love to be CEO himself. What’s more, he’ll be in a position to help another young Ethiopian to climb the ladder of success. The Ethiopian population in Israel, which numbers more than 120,000, is among the country’s most vulnerable, with crime and poverty levels soaring. At the same time, only 5 to 15% of Ethiopian university graduates are in jobs suitable to their training. By funding Olim Together, Federation is helping to build a stronger Israel. As part of our commitment to equal opportunity and social change, we seek to level the playing field, so that more young Ethiopians like Yuval can not only integrate into Israeli society, but make a lasting contribution.

Categories: Israel


April 27, 2010


The Federation