Integrating Ethiopian-Israelis into Military and Civilian Society
Ethiopian-Israelis tend to have exemplary service records: 90% of Ethiopian-Israeli combat soldiers complete their full military service as opposed to 70% of combat soldiers from other populations. Despite these high completion rates, IDF research shows that soldiers from Israel’s Ethiopian community often don’t reach their highest potential within the army and struggle to gain access to the army’s array of challenging positions.
Through special training and orientations, the Amir Course seeks to better integrate Ethiopian-Israeli enlistees into the army, enabling them to access more challenging and influential positions in the IDF. Since a soldier’s military service can play such a critical role in his or her civilian life, the Amir Course is also an investment in these soldiers’ futures. The course improves their personal and professional development, providing these soldiers with the opportunity to pursue university studies, integrate into civilian institutions, build careers, and realize an improved quality of life.
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Amir Course Brochure
Until the Amir Course, most Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers would usually receive low IDF psycho-technical entrance exam scores due to their lower socioeconomic influences and difficulties assimilating into Israeli society. 64.5% of Ethiopian-Israeli men recruited scored in the lowest bracket, compared to only 20% of the general population. This however, is not a proper gauge of their true potential. Such scores misleadingly place many Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers in low level, less influential positions. When the IDF realizes Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers’ true potential, it equalizes the field for all ethnicities and helps strengthen them and the future of Israel.
Since its inception, the Amir Course has only grown in popularity. Over 3,600 soldiers have already participated in the course, and about 540 more will hopefully graduate this year. Last year, 400 soldiers graduated from the course, and over 600 the year before. More and more Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers are utilizing the tools provided to them and are stepping into more challenging and influential roles. This is no small feat. One’s military career has the potential to open up doors otherwise inaccessible such as higher education, an aggrandized career, and ultimately, full integration into Israeli society.
- Since 2009, the Amir Course has helped approximately 3,500 Ethiopian-Israeli soldiers.
- Cost: $1100 enables one soldier to participate in the Amir Course.
Watch the Amir Course Video
"Thanks to the course and what I’ve gone through, I realized I wanted to do something meaningful in the army – to undergo commander training and become a commander and help other soldiers just as I was helped."
- Shoshana Fanta, Platoon Commander, Amir Course