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Necessary Steps Toward Integration

Zehava Tesfay (founder and director of Azimut mentoring program) speaking at podium. Zehava Tesfay, the founder and director of the Fellowship's Azimut mentoring program. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

Even as thousands of Ethiopian Jews in Israel prepare to celebrate Sigd, a special holiday to commemorate years of waiting to return to the Holy Land, many still struggle to fully integrate into Israeli society today, reports Rachel Cohen of The Jerusalem Post. This is why The Fellowship started the Azimut program:

“I’ve spoken to Ethiopians in university and they tell of people assuming they are custodians, not students, simply because of the color of their skin,” Tesfay [manager of the Azimut program at The Fellowship] said, as one example of the kind of casual discrimination community members face…

Two years ago the IFCJ implemented its Azimuth program, which aims to help the young generation of Ethiopians.

Before, during and after their army service, Azimuth tries to ensure that these young men and women are given the same opportunities as everyone else. This includes, for example, pre-army courses that help them obtain coveted roles in the IDF or financial planning courses once they are discharged so they are able to handle the daunting responsibilities of adulthood.

Such programs aren’t one-offs. In fact, the IFCJ has invested more than $43 million in these programs in the belief that a fruitful life in Israel doesn’t begin and end with aliya.

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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

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