This past November, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Goodman Foundation, JFN brought a mission of funders to Ethiopia to visit the families of Ethiopian Israelis and other Ethiopian Jews awaiting aliyah and to accompany some of them on their journey to Israel. It was a powerful experience, and JFN is committed to providing opportunities for our members to continue to explore our unique role in addressing the challenge of Ethiopian aliyah and integration in Israel. We are creating a peer network to help you learn more about the various issues at play and the many avenues and opportunities that exist for funders to drive impact in this challenging realm.
The first session of the new Ethiopian-Israeli Peer Network will be on Thursday, February 9, 12:00-1:00pm EST. For this session, JFN is pleased to partner with UJA-Federation of New York to discuss one such avenue of impact and action: a collective advocacy strategy in Israel around Ethiopian aliyah.
In November 2022, led by UJA, the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel passed a resolution urging the Government of Israel to take action around a 2021 commitment to continue the implementation of the Tzur Israel Operation and to provide clarity for the thousands of Ethiopians living in limbo in the Addis Ababa and Gondar compounds. In this discussion, UJA will present the history and goals of the JAFI resolution passed in November, an update on engagement with the new Israeli government, and some ideas for collective action from funders. There will also be room to hear from our mission participants and for attendees to share questions and ideas around this issue.
Pnina Tamano-Shata is an Israeli lawyer, journalist, and politician. She is the first Ethiopian-born woman to enter the Knesset (in 2013) and first Ethiopian-born government minister after being appointed Minister of Immigrant Absorption (2020). In June 2021, Tamanu-Shata was awarded the Magen Begin Prize for Israeli Leadership.
Micha Feldmann has worked for the Jewish Agency and other organizations and government entities on immigration and absorption since 1970. As Israel’s Consul to Ethiopia, he was one of the key architects of 1991’s Operation Solomon that succeeded in bringing 14,310 Ethiopian Jews out of besieged Addis Ababa in one weekend.
He currently serves as the director of the Ethiopian department within SELAH – Israel Crisis Management Center, an organization that helps Israeli immigrants from Ethiopia and the FSU.
- Itzik Shmuli is an Israeli politician who served as the Minister of Labor, Welfare and Social Services and as a Member of the Knesset; formerly chairman of National Union of Israeli Students, and one of the leaders of the 2011 Israeli social justice protests. He currently serves as UJA-Federation of New York's Director-General in its Israel office.
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