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July 10, 2013 4:57 pm

International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem Funds Program for Ethiopian Jews

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A Jewish Ethiopian child holds an Israeli flag. Photo: Ethiopian Diaspora Forum.

JNS.org – The International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem (ICEJ), a Christian Zionist organization based in Jerusalem, is sponsoring a special studies program for Ethiopian Jewish students who are enrolled at the Ruppin Academic Center near Netanya.

“The community leadership program teaches about your identity and the history of Ethiopian aliyah,” program coordinator Takele Mekonen told a group of Israel Defense Forces soldiers of Ethiopian descent during a speech in May.

Mekonen, who was born in Ethiopia and moved to Israel when he was 16, added, “You will learn how to read and write Amharic and you will volunteer in your community. You will spend time in boarding schools and serve as mentors for kids on the verge of dropping out of school. You are the ones who can help your brothers and sisters.”

Despite many arriving in Israel more than two decades ago, a good portion of Israel’s Ethiopian community is still struggling to integrate into society. According to the ICEJ, nearly 60 percent of Ethiopian families live below the poverty line. On the other hand, Ethiopian immigration to Israel has produced a number of notable success stories, namely Yitayish Ayenew, who this year became the first black woman to win the Miss Israel crown, and Shlomo Molla, former deputy speaker of the Knesset.

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