News & Events

Remembering Zimna Brahani, the Mossad operative who risked his life for Ethiopian Jewry Haaretz, Mar. 01, 2015

Brahani's colleagues in the daring immigration operations called him "a hero of Israel."


Many honorifics were awarded 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."

Senior citizens, adults and robed kessim (priests) holding colorful umbrellas mingled with young people in jeans and trendy shirts, remembering the man who had embraced and extended a hand to them on their difficult and dangerous journey from Ethiopia and who for decades acted on the community’s behalf.

Click here to read the full article from the Haaretz Mar, 01, 2015 article.

"Last Hope" A piece on ending programs based on race

See OpEd by Asher Elias from Jerusalem Post, October 8, 2013

Ethiopian Israeli crowned "Miss Israel 2013"excerpt from JTA, Feb. 27, 2013

Yityish Aynaw, a former Israeli army officer, has become the first Ethiopian-Israeli to win the Miss Israel pageant. A panel of judges awarded the title to Aynaw, a 21-year-old model who came to Israel about a decade ago, at the International Convention Center Haifa on February 27th.


"It's important that a member of the Ethiopian community wins the competition for the first time," she was quoted by Israeli media as telling the judges in response to a question. "There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it's important to show that to the world."

Aynaw came to Israel with her family when she was 12. Acclimating to Israel was difficult at first, Aynaw said, but she picked up the language quickly with the help of a friend. She has been working as a saleswoman at a clothing store since her army discharge.

During the competition, Aynaw cited the slain American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her heroes. "He fought for justice and equality, and that's one of the reasons I'm here: I want to show that my community has many pretty qualities that aren't always represented in the media," she said.

Two Ethiopian Israelis elected to Kenesett

Shimon Solomon and Pnina Tamano-Shata were recently elected to Israel's 19th Knesset. Pnina is the first Ethiopian Israeli woman ever elected to Israel's governing body.

Both Shimon and Pnina were born in Ethiopia and immigrated to Israel as young children.
Pnina is an Israeli lawyer, journalist and politician. She immigrated from Ethiopia in 1984 to Israel through Sudan at the age of three. She studied law at Ono Academic College, and became Deputy Chairman of the national Ethiopian Student Association. She worked from 2007-2012 as a reporter for Channel 1. She lives in Peta Tikvah with her husband and two children.

Shimon also made aliyah to Israel via Sudan Made aliya on foot from Ethiopia in 1980 with his parents and five brothers and sisters. Shimon's professional career has focused on Ethiopian and refugee issues in Israel. He was senior educator at Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel and then served as Director of Education at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, a youth village serving young victims of genocide. Shimon has also worked in the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa, and was later director of an immigrant absorption center in Beersheba. Shimon lives in Ashdod and has three children.


Friends of Ethiopian Jews (FEJ) is pleased to announce the opening of the AAEJ Archives Online at .   The AAEJ Archives Online is a collection of original source documents and photographs and videos from former members of the American Association for Ethiopian Jews (the AAEJ), an organization that closed in 1993 after completing its mission: to fulfill the request of the Beta Israel community of helping them go to Israel. While the Israeli airlifts - Operation Moses in 1984 (and "Joshua") and Operation Solomon in 1991 - were life-saving, amazing feats, the story of the aliyah of the Ethiopian Jewish community begins with the activism and determination of Ethiopian Jews themselves, and the long, persistent, 25-year support of the AAEJ. These efforts were planned by and implemented by Ethiopian Jews themselves - the leaders and heroes of the aliyah of the Beta Israel - and the American activists with whom they worked.
Baruch Demo2 
On the AAEJ Archives Online website, and its links to Picasa Web and FilesAnywhere, you can learn about the immense efforts of many Beta Israel who sacrified their personal lives to help their community, and the huge output of work by AAEJ activists both in supporting the community and in lobbying the U.S. and Israeli governments to do more. (see photo on right of Baruch Tegegne marching down Wall Street, NYC). 

From the beginning and in the end, the heroes of the Beta Israel aliyah are the Ethiopian Jews who walked to Sudan, who took the risks, devised the plans, came illegally down from Gondar to Addis, went to jail for the right to be Jewish, who refused to give up and - in many cases - gave their lives. We salute them and honor them. 
The AAEJ Archives Online is an interactive website.  Your help is needed to help identify people and places in the photographs, and let the world know who they are. Post your comments! Your input will help make this an accurate archive that records the true history of the Ethiopian Jewish people.
The AAEJ Archives Online is constantly expanding as more materials are added each month, so visit often.

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