News & Media

Then and Now: Tracking Down the Ethiopian Jews who Moved to Israel:

  • Interested in learning about the first Ethiopian-Israeli community that made Aliyah in the mid 1980’s? This article, which is now an exhibit in Tel Aviv, beautifully tracks the stories of the children, as new olim, to their lives in contemporary society.

    May 2015 Media Coverage of Tebeka And The Ethiopian-Israeli Protests:

    Original Video Footage Of Police Brutality Against Ethiopian Israeli Soldier:

    Zimna Brahani, the Mossad Operative Who Risked His Life for Ethiopian Jewry

    Many awards were presented to Mossad operative Zimna Brahani, who was buried on February 22 in Lod. Thousands of people from Israel’s Ethiopian community came to pay their last respects to the man they called “hero,” “saint,” and “angel.. 

    Ethiopian Doctor Here Breaking Barriers

    Mount Sinai cardiology intern hopes to practice in Israel’s ‘peripheries,’ to help those with impoverished backgrounds.

    Wearing a white coat, name badge and stethoscope, Dr. Rachel Nega strides through the halls of Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital. To patients and visitors, she looks like any other doctor on duty — slightly preoccupied, with a deliberate air to her step. Yet her dark skin and almond eyes hint at her unique background.

    Nega, 29, is the first Israeli-Ethiopian doctor to intern at Mount Sinai, an opportunity that came through the joint efforts of an Israeli nonprofit and an Israeli-American philanthropist. During the summer internship, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Martin Goldman, a leading cardiologist who heads the echocardiography lab at Mount Sinai.

    “This experience will shape my future,” says Nega over coffee in the Mount Sinai lobby.

    Nega, who is in her third year of medical school at Tel Aviv University, hopes to practice medicine in Israel’s “peripheries,” the parts of the country where specialized medical professionals are sparse. Her goal is to work with immigrants and those from impoverished backgrounds.

    Nega’s story is just one of many demonstrating how the Israeli-Ethiopian community has overcome significant hurdles in the past few decades. A first-generation Israeli, Nega’s parents emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel in November 1984 during Operation Moses, the mass migration of Ethiopian Jews out of Sudan.

    Ethiopian- Israeli Working As Cleaning Woman Fired Because Of Pregnancy

    A cleaning woman who was five months pregnant and was fired a day after informing her employers of her pregnancy, was awarded 45 thousand shekels in a recently concluded case at the Regional Labor Court in Tel Aviv. The worker who was fired from her job after a contract worker, decided to sue the company that employed her, as the company  had violated the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.

    The worker is a mother of six children who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 2000. She was employed by the defendant in a cleaning role, and was sacked by the company shortly after the administration learned that she was pregnant. She had been working at the company part-time for about four months.

    According to the ruling, the plaintiff was contacted by her manager on 6/27/11 who asked her if she was pregnant. The plaintiff, who was five months pregnant, replied in the affirmative. The next day, 6/28/11, the plaintiff received a call from her manager and was told that she was fired because the manager felt apparent dissatisfaction with her work. On 2/11/12 she gave birth.

    The dismissed employee applied for legal aid from “Tebeka – Justice and Equality for Ethiopian Jews” organization, and with Tebeka’s legal assistance and support  filed a claim to the Labour Court. During the court proceedings on 8/24/14, the court accepted the claim and awarded her compensation of 45 thousand shekels.

    Tebeka’s Attorney who handled the case, Ariel Azala, said in response: “The judgment gives a clear message to the contractor for flagrantly violating workers’ rights.”

    Executive Director of Tebeka, Fentahun Assefa-Dawit said in response: “This case is a case of abuse of managers and contractors of vulnerable population groups in general, and particularly Ethiopian. I am pleased that the plaintiff was afforded the  rights she is due. Tebeka will continue to make itself available to the Ethiopian community to counter the effects of these unjust people and will strive for the establishment of a more equitable and tolerant society in Israel. ”


    Discrimination Against Ethiopian community In Petach Tikva: “We wanted to get married, and we got the biggest slap in the world” From Our Country

    Residents of Ethiopian origin from Petah Tikva made a case that the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of the city, Rabbi Benjamin Atias, based on what they believe was a racist policy: the Rabbi refused to register the couple for marriage because of doubts he expressed concerning their Judaism. One resident in the area commented, “These guys are young people who attended local meetings as part of the community and served in elite units in the army, and they just got the biggest slap in the face”.

    The odyssey of Ethiopian Jews in Israel in 2014 continues following complaints this morning (Sunday) as reported by Army Radio, of not allowing the marriage to be registered at the Petah Tikva city rabbinate.

    “This is about young people who attended meetings and served in elite units, and came here, to the the religious council, just to get a big slap in the face. The feeling here is one of extreme humiliation. You wait for the moment when you are happy to get married and suddenly get rejected like that? This is not a bracha!” a community member commented following the decision of the Rabbi.

    The advisors of the Chief Rabbi’s had deliberated long and hard on the subject of Judaism in the Ethiopian community in the past. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who knew the origins  of Ethiopian Judaism had determined that they were the lost tribe of Dan, and was supported in this determination by other senior Rabbis – including Rabbi Schach, Rav Elyashiv and Rabbi Milobvic.

    The vast majority of the Jewish people from Ethiopian who now reside in Israel have been recognized as Jews, but it turns out that’s not enough. This particularly odd story became even more complex for the community as a whole given the fact that the complainants are undergoing a conversion process under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate.

    Attorney Ariel Azala of “Tebeka” claims the city Rabbinate’s decision is contrary to the law. “The argument is that they discriminate against Ethiopian Jews and act contrary to the instructions of the Ministry of Religious Services. I understand that at least five couples approached us on this subject. However, there are actually dozens of couples suffering from the same discrimination, ” stated Attorney Ariel Azala.

    The incident has been particularly embarrassing for the  Shas political party (Rabbi Ovadia Yosef who originally determined the validity of Ethiopian Israelis Judaism was their spiritual head).  The city’s Sephardic  Rabbi, Rabbi Benjamin Atias, works under the auspices of Shas, and has directly discriminated against the Ethiopian community, and happens to be the brother of former MK Ariel Atias, a leader of the Shas movement.

    Tebeka is featured in the Jerusalem Report!

    View the full article – The Jerusalem Report, 18 November 2013.


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