Representing Career Israel and MASA at Ethiopian Memorial Service on Har Herzl

Written by Ben Menahem, intern in politics (at World Likkud) on Career Israel Internship Program

Having embraced the multitude of activities and events (both within and outside of the Career Israel internship program) in the upbeat City of Tel Aviv, I set off to historical Jerusalem to take part in the celebrations of Yom Yerushalyim, where we celebrate the Unity of our Capitol from 1967.

As part of the colossal Career Israel Experience, I was invited by MASA to represent my programme at an “Ethiopian Memorial Service” on Mount Herzl. The ceremony honoured the thousands of Ethiopians who have died over the past several decades on their journey from Africa to Israel.

Career Israel Participantson Jerusalem Day 2011

Career Israel Participants on Jerusalem Day 2011

Ethiopian Jews Memorial

Ethiopian Jews Memorial

Little did I know that I would witness Israeli President, Shimon Peres greet Ethiopian Israeli dignitaries at the Memorial Ceremony. The monumental figure, who was so instrumental in the history and construction of this Start Up Nation, was now sat a few feet away from me. As he rose to deliver his speech on the podium, I felt nervous at being so close to this iconic figure whose consistent contribution makes him a true symbol of this great country.  He offered thanks to the immense Ethiopian contribution to Israel and spoke about the centrality and importance of our Capitol, Jerusalem.

Shimon Peres at Ethiopian Jewish Memorial

Shimon Peres

As I sat there, toasting in the glorious morning sunshine, beads of cool sweat poured down my forehead and I could feel the excitement and pride within.  My name would be called out, as I accompanied Natan Sharansky, Chair of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel and Moshe Batar, Jewish Agency for Ethiopians, to help deliver a reef on the central platform. The event had further performances of “Yerushalyim shel Zahav” from an Ethiopian girls choir and a speech by MK Sofa Landver. The ceremony climaxed with a heart-warming rendition of the Hatikvah performed by a female military officer named Shai.

I then met up with friends from C.I. to join the unbelievable 40,000 peoplestrong parade in the streets of Jerusalem all the way to the Kotel !!  This was yet another fantastic opportunity Career Israel internship program offers, and I am grateful for taking part.

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