An Israeli Black Panther poster: “War against poverty, not the poor”
Writing in Front Page magazine, Steve Plaut explodes the myth of the much-vaunted ‘economic divide’ between ethnic groups in Israel.
What about disparities across ethnic sub-groups of Israeli Jews? The
first notable pattern is this: The main group that over-performs
compared with others is native-born Israeli Jews or sabras. Being
born in the country confers a distinct earnings advantage in Israel as
it does in most other countries. There is a modest advantage in income,
about 8 percent for men and 2 percent for women, for those who are
native-born Israeli Jews, compared with those who are foreign-born. And
this is true for both Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews.
When controlling for other non-ethnic factors, Ashkenazim have a
small advantage over Mizrahim among men, about 2 percent for total
individual income and 4 percent for salary alone, much smaller than the
gap in the raw earnings numbers, and much smaller than the premium
enjoyed by native-born Jews. For women, Ashkenazim slightly underperform
Mizrahim. More generally, because of the advantage of being a sabra,
a native-born Mizrahi Jew would generally outperform a non-native
Ashkenazi Jew, other things being equal. When men and women are
separated in the analysis of earnings, the “natives” retain an earnings
advantage among both genders. Mizrahi Jewish women are outperforming the
Ashkenazi Jewish women.
Recent immigrants in Israel are at an earnings disadvantage compared
to the other population groups. Controlling for age, education, and the
other non-ethnic factors, recent immigrants earn about 5.5 percent less
in total individual earnings while for salary alone (not shown in the
table), they earn 10-14 percent less than other Israelis. The earnings
disadvantage is larger for men than for women.
from Africa (mainly Ethiopians) do not suffer from any special earnings
disadvantage as compared with the earnings levels of all recent
immigrants. All immigrants are at a modest disadvantage in the labor
market, but Ethiopians no more so than non-Ethiopian immigrants. When
men and women are analyzed separately, Ethiopians slightly outperform
the other immigrants.