Most Ethiopian Jews shun intermarriage

Nov. 16, 2009 at 10:04 PM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Intermarriage between Israeli Jews of different backgrounds has increased, except among Ethiopian Israelis, statistics showed.

A report published by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics said 85 percent of women and 93 percent of men in the Ethiopian community marry within their community, Haaretz reported Monday.

Despite the election of U.S. President Barack Obama, who is biracial, the rate of racial intermarriage is higher in Israel than in the United States. A two-year-old U.S. study showed that 6 percent of American blacks who married wedded a white person, as compared with 10 percent in Israel, the newspaper said.

Nevertheless, most white Israelis were found to be uncomfortable with the idea of one of their own children marrying an Ethiopian, Haaretz reported.

"I think from the standpoint of Israeli society generally and from the standpoint of those of Ethiopian origin, it will take time until there is readiness for intermarriage. Portions of the Ethiopian community itself are conservative and have concerns," said Avi Masfin, Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews' deputy director.

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