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December 19, 2018 10:56 am

Lt. ‘Yod’ First Israeli Air Force Pilot of Ethiopian Heritage

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Air Force pilots throw their hats in the air in celebration at a graduation ceremony for soldiers who have completed the official IAF flight course (Hatzerim Air Base, Negev Desert), Dec. 29, 2016. Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash90. – Lt. “Yod” will officially become the Israeli Air Force’s first pilot of Ethiopian heritage when he completes the elite pilots’ course on Wednesday.

The new pilot’s name could not be released, due to security concerns.

As soon as Yod participates in his class’s graduation ceremony, he will begin his service as a navigator for IAF fighter jets.

Ethiopian Jews participate fully in service within the Israel Defense Forces, but have only recently begun to enter the highest-ranking positions, due to what is considered a slower acclimation to Israeli society and some accusations of incidents of racial discrimination.

In 2016, Dr. Avraham Yitzhak took over as chief medical officer of the army’s Southern Command, becoming the first Israeli of Ethiopian heritage to hold the rank of colonel in the IDF. Before that, he was the first Ethiopian doctor in the IDF.

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