It was a Friday afternoon; we were still living in Katamonim, a small neighborhood in Jerusalem. I was about to leave my apartment to pick up some groceries for Shabbat when suddenly I heard screaming. This was not any kind of screaming. This was piercing, terrifying, horrible screaming like something terrible was happening. I opened the door, as all the neighbors had, to find out what was happening. I saw that the door to my next door neighbor, the Gidonis, was open and that the screaming was coming from there. The Gidonis were a nice traditional family of 4 boys ranging from ages 19 to about 30 that for the most part kept to themselves. I was quite friendly with the father and couldn't imagine what had gone wrong.
Mekonen’s Story: The Global Dream to Belong
Jerusalem U is about to release a mini-documentary about the journey of IDF Lt. Mekonen Abebe. This film picks up on the story of one of the soldiers that we first met in the highly acclaimed documentary Beneath the Helmet during which Mekonen was a trainee soldier in the IDF's parachute regiment, under my command.
Mekonen: The Story of an Ethiopian Jew, presents both his history before joining the army as well as his process of becoming an IDF officer himself and I am really happy that Jerusalem U has made this film, and that I was able to be part of it, because I feel that Mekonen’s story is an important story to share.
It’s not just the personal account of a remarkable individual, it is also the collective account of an entire community, the story Ethiopian Jewry.
Mekonen's story is perhaps bigger than even than that of his community or of Israel - it is a univerals story, one that applies to any country grappling with the challenges of absorbing immigrants. It describes the process a person goes through to integrate into a new society, while still remaining true to his or her roots.
Return to The IDF: My Experience As A Reserve Officer, & Meeting My Men...and They're All Older Than Me !
I finished my first stint in the IDF reserves about a week ago. It was good to be back in uniform, serving my country again. Israel relies on a large force of reserve soldiers to augment our standing army - after our three mandatory years of army service, Israeli citizens can be called up at any time for training and at time of war of course.