First Ethiopian in Israeli air force to get his wings

Next week, Lt. Yod will be the first Ethiopian-Israeli to receive his flying wings. 

By World Israel News Staff

Next week, Lt. Yod will stand on the field of the Hatzerim air base in the Negev will his fellow classmates and become the first Ethiopian-Israeli to receive his wings.

His service as a navigator on a combat jet begins immediately thereafter.

Although Ethiopian Jews have entered Israel’s prestigious flying course, Lt. Yod, whose full name can’t be released for security reasons, is the first to complete it. There was in fact a fellow cadet, a woman from the Ethiopian community, in the same class as Lt. Yod, but she failed to pass.

Lt. Yod’s mother said, “The family is very excited and proud of him,” Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot reports.

His friends from high school said they always knew he’d go far. He was someone who chose his goal and went for it, they said, according to the paper.

Knesset MK Penina Tamanu of the Yesh Atid Party, who is the first female member of the Ethiopian community in Israel’s parliament, said, “This is an exciting moment. He is an individual soldier, but also a pioneer and symbol of pride in Israeli society. He is paving the way for many others.”

Ethiopian Jews participate fully in service within the Israel Defense Forces but have only recently begun to enter the highest-ranking positions.

In 2016, Dr. Avraham Yitzhak took over as chief medical officer of the army’s Southern Command, becoming the first Israeli of Ethiopian heritage to hold the rank of colonel in the IDF. Before that, he was the first Ethiopian doctor in the IDF.

JNS contributed to this report.