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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meet Emanuel Pasana, Garin program’s First Ethiopian Officer

The Nahal Brigade has always been proud of its diverse population and its ability to integrate new immigrants. Since 1947, the brigade has welcomed Jews from around the world asking to serve in the IDF through its Garin program, a program that provides new immigrants with surrogate family.
Emanuel Pasana, first Ethiopian Officer from Garin Nahal
Emanuel Pasana, first Ethiopian Officer from Garin Nahal

Last week, Emanuel Pasana has graduated from officers’ school, and became the Nahal Brigade’s first Ethiopian officer from the Garin program. Emanuel Pasana had immigrated to Israel at the age of 10, along with his parents and his twelve brothers. While in high school, Pasana stood out in his acting abilities. He was chosen to be a member in his school’s band, and performed in Germany a play that followed the struggles of a Ethiopian-born child after his arrival to Israel.

At the age of 18, Pasana faced the dilemma of pursuing his musical career and joining an IDF band or enlisting in a combat unit. Eventually Pasana decided that he wanted to spent the next three years of his adult life contributing to his country and society as much as he possibly can.

After taking a year off  helping children with special needs, Pasana joined the 50th Battalion.After joining the Battalion, Pasana quickly proved to be an excellent soldier and was sent to squad commanders course.

After a successful time as a squad commander, he was chosen to go on to officer’s school. After rigorous months of training at officer’s school’s course, he is now ready to get his officer’s ranks and start his next chapter in the army as platoon commander.

He states that his friends and family are proud of him and of the historic achievement he represents. When asked about wanting to pursue his acting career, he responds that at the time he is busy with thinking how to be as good a commander as possible to his future soldiers.

Emanuel is a great example of the integration of minorities in the IDF. Since 2010 there have been more than 110,000 Israeli-Ethiopians residents in Israel, thousands of them joining the army every year. Many Israeli-Ethiopians serve in combat positions in every division in the IDF, and many of them are selected to become officers and come back to their units as commanders.