Photo: Visual photos
Will their ethnicity or skin-color have an effect in 2007 Israel?
Photo: Visual photos

Melting pot or not

An Ethiopian, Arab, Russian, strictly Orthodox, Ashkenazi and Sephardi go out to find a job, rent an apartment and enroll a child in kindergarten. Discrimination? Racism? Absolutely

An Ethiopian, Arab, Russian, strictly Orthodox, Ashkenazi and Sephardi man of the same age group and same educational background were sent by Yedioth Ahronoth to look for a job, find an apartment and enroll a child in kindergarten. Will their ethnicity or skin-color have an effect in 2007 Israel? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.


The six were chosen to represent the different sectors of society. They approached more than 400 restaurants, cafes, apartments for rent, and kindergartens in 22 cities - from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat – in each conversation the applicant's background was mentioned either directly or in a roundabout way.


From right to left: Senbato Tamanu, Said Hanin, Yehuda Peretz, Itai Unger, Boris Blenki and Yisrael Burnstein (Photo: Kobi Quankas)


The Ashkenazi caller, Itai Unger, received the most positive answers and encountered no expressions of racism. The Sepharadi Yehuda Peretz arrived second while the strictly Orthodox and Russian immigrant arrived in third and fourth place respectively.


Yet, more than half of the calls made by the Ethiopian representative, Senbato Tamanu, resulted in a refusal and dozens contained derogatory remarks. Following closely, with more than 70 percent negative answers and numerous phone-slamming, was the Arab caller Said Hanin.


Following are some examples:


Tel Aviv

In the kindergarten in the upscale Dan neighborhood, Senbato, Itai and the strictly Orthodox, Yisrael, received positive responses. Said, on the other hand, was told that "we're booked, there are no vacancies."


The waiter position was no more relevant when Boris called but magically became available again for Itai.



The kindergarten teacher from Pisgat Ze'ev in Jerusalem chatted happily with Boris in fluent Russian. Senbato as well was answered positively but when Said called the answer was: "I don't want to hang up on you but you better look for another place."


At 4:50 pm Yehuda was invited for interview in a food stall in the Mall. At 5:00 pm Said was told "we are not hiring at he moment." At 5:15 pm Itai was asked to come in the next day for an interview.



Three competed on the waiter's job in a coffee shop: Boris, Yisrael and Itai. Boris and Yisrael received negative answers while Itai was summoned for a job interview.


Said, who had many failures in other cities, received positive answers when trying to enroll a child in kindergarten and when asking to rent an apartment.


Bat Yam

At the café Senbato applied for a job, they asked for an "espresso-machine's operator" certificate and explained "the machine we use is very complicated." Itai, on the other hand, was asked to attend a job interview even though he said he had no experience.



After many repeated calls, Holon turned out to be racism-free. All six representatives received positive answers. When Said asked the landlord "don't you mind that I'm an Arab?" the answer was: "Not in the least."


פרסום ראשון: 08.31.07, 17:49
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