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Israel taps first Ethiopia-born envoy

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has appointed its first Ethiopia-born ambassador.

The appointment of Belaynesh Zevadia as Israel’s envoy to Ethiopia was announced Tuesday.

Zevadia also was the first Ethiopian Foreign Ministry cadet. She made aliyah at the age of 17 and studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and African studies and a master’s degree in African studies. She has worked as a diplomat in Chicago and Houston.

"This is proof that in Israel, opportunity is available to everyone — native Israelis and new immigrants alike," Zevadia said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement that Zevadia’s appointment "conveys an important message to Israeli society, which is currently dealing with the issue of racism towards Ethiopians in Israel." He added, "I am certain that she will represent the state with honor and be a source of pride to all Ethiopian Israelis."

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