Mekonen – Journey Of An African Jew

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Scary things are happening on US college campuses. Jewish students face increasing abuse from anti-Israel groups. College students are willing to donate money to Hamas. Lex has been reporting all year from her college campus in NYC. While, Varda muses she would not want her kids to have to face the Jew hatred and BDS movement’s growing threats on US campuses.

At UC-Irvine, violent protesters forced a Jewish student to hide and call police.

Protest organizers Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) commended the demonstration on Facebook, calling it a “success” and justifying the violent protesting tactics because of the presence of police and IDF soldiers.

Rabbi Raphael Shore of Jerusalem U and his wife Rebecca, produced “Beneath the Helmet,” the documentary film SJP tried to keep from being shown in California. Shore said that having 10 students willing to come out in the hostile campus environment to see the movie was an accomplishment.

One of the original characters in the real life story of young IDF recruits was Mekonen Abebe. Now a star in a follow-up film, “Mekonen – Journey of an African Jew,” we learn more about his life, trials and triumphs. Falasha means stranger.  Mekonen talks about always being an outsider in Ethiopia. As a 5 year-old boy, he was a shepherd, in a family with dreams of returning to Zion.

screen capture of Mekonen Abebe with his mother and sister

He had only a mud roof over his head for most of his youth, but Mekonen has made it to Israel and is now an officer in the IDF.

The film trailer shares some low points and highlights of Mekonen and his family.

SJP and other anti-Israel hate groups will really find this new documentary film objectionable. Tales of ancient yearning for Jerusalem, families so committed to Zionism, they walk for months, and wait for years, to follow their dream to reach Jerusalem, and oh.. a family with “brown skin”… and a success story in the IDF.

Screening of Mekonen at Yes Planet Jerusalem with Cafe Shahor Hazak

The Mekonen film premiered in Israel to an audience filled with young gap year students. Students who had participated once a week in a special workshop program led by Jerusalem U. Sessions planned to give them the tools to stand up to anti-Israel hate groups on campuses next year when they return to the US.

The movie screening was followed by a concert from Israeli hip-hop group, Cafe Shahor Hazak. While the music was not my thing, the students and certainly Mekonen loved it.

It was also wonderful to see StandWithUs, CAMERA on Campus, Hillel and other groups sponsoring the event with Jerusalem U.

Students posing with Mekonen at Yes Planet opening of new film by Jerusalem UMay the all the positive forces working together be with these students.

If you need a little inspiration, #MekonenStory is for you.

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I lived in the United States, Canada and Australia before moving to Israel in the midst of the Second Lebanon War. For the last nine years, walking the streets of Jerusalem, the scenes I saw every day did not resemble the ones familiar in the Western media. Now I try to share those positive images with the world, what is really happening in Jerusalem, Israel, The Real Jerusalem Streets

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