As an infant, she was airlifted to safety. Today she’s bringing Ethiopian culture alive in Tel Aviv.

Ashager Araro says “owning and narrating our own stories has the power to educate, inspire and fend off discrimination — often born from ignorance.” (Courtesy)

This article originally appeared on Alma.

Born on a roadside during Operation Solomon, which airlifted over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991, Ashager Araro’s start to life was far from conventional. Her name, meaning “going forward” in Amharic, is fitting, given the nature of her birth en route from her family’s small village of Gondar in Ethiopia to the capital of Addis Ababa in hopes of rescue.

One of approximately 160,000 Ethiopian Jews now residing in Israel, Ashager is part of an integral thread in the Jewish state’s historically rich fabric. Now 29 years old, the ambitious feminist Zionist was named one of Jewish News Syndicate’s top 40 global advocates for Israel online in 2020 and is loud and proud in her mission to unite people from all Jewish backgrounds.

Graduating at the top of her class as a lieutenant paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces, much of Ashager’s tenacity springs from time spent in a male-dominated unit.

“It was there I learned how to speak up and conduct myself in a confident manner, and I’ve built on this strength in future areas of my life,” she said.

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