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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Israeli ambassador visits her Ethiopian hometown

Nearly three decades after immigrating to Israel, Belaynesh Zevadia returns to her village in Ethiopia, this time as Israel’s ambassador

Belaynesh Zevadia left her village in Ethiopia when she was 13 years old in order to immigrate to Israel. Nearly three decades later she has returned to her hometown, this time as the official Israeli envoy to the African country.
“I left when I was still a child and now I’m back as Israel’s ambassador. This is one of the most moving moments of my life,” Zevadia told Yedioth Ahronoth on Tuesday.
Zevadia visited the local synagogue, which was well-preserved despite the fact the village’s Jewish population has left long ago.
“I prayed at the spot where my father used to pray and cried like a little girl. It was like coming full circle,” she said.
Zevadia also stopped by the school where she used to attend, and sat next to the desk that used to be hers.
“I told the kids I attended their school and they were shocked,” she said.
The ambassador arrived at the village with a group of Israeli eye doctors who work with Eye from Zion, an organization that provides medical humanitarian aid across the globe. The doctors set up two clinics where they are to undertake an eye surgery “marathon,” aiming to restore the eyesight of some 1,000 Ethiopians, including some who have been blind for many years.
The Israeli envoy also visited the Jewish Agency facility in Gondar, and met with Jewish residents who are planning to immigrate to Israel soon.