ICTs and the Ethiopian Immigrants

Despite the digital marginalization that the Ethiopian community suffers generally and the studied sample specifically, the study demonstrated that the interviewees are well aware of the centrality of ICTs in a technologically developed society like Israel. Some of the participants even saw ICTs as extensions of their own bodies. These descriptions of the computer as “the circulatory system” or a “leg” highlight the gap between the ideal and reality among the members of the group. While ICTs are central in Israeli life, for the Ethiopian activists living there they are inaccessible.

Indeed, a few of the Ethiopian activists make relatively advanced use of computers, but even those who do not yet use them are very motivated to do so. They are, however, fully cognizant of what they need in order to use computers, such as basic literacy as well as specific computer literacy. They all stated that they wanted to study how to use a computer and expressed confidence that such study would be tailored to their needs.

The characteristics of new media are well recognized by the activists, even if they do not use the exact terms we use. They see the potential in their contribution to the creation of a group identity and for political activism. Indeed, an analysis of the perceptions of new media and their utility among the most marginalized groups in Israel demonstrates the importance of new media and, more importantly, the need to create an inclusive communication policy that will ensure access to marginalized groups and equip them with a set of capabilities that will help them exploit the potentials of new media.

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