President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday hosted Israeli-Ethiopian civilian pilots as part of a meeting with representatives of the Ye’elim organization, which promotes youth at risk.
The meeting was attended by the Ye’elim founder Izzy Canaan and recent graduates of flight training.
Daniel Chana, one of the graduates, is completing his Masters of Engineering after completing his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He currently serves as an academic reservist in the IDF’s Technology and Maintenance Corps. He shared his life story with Rivlin and the challenges he encountered while coming to Israel from Ethiopia with no knowledge in Hebrew.
Chana expressed his gratitude to Izzy at to his organization Ye’elim.
“It was the first time anyone believed in me, and it is where I felt my motivation had changed. I started studying for my high school finals and at the same time studied for the pilots’ course theoretical tests. After working hard, I completed the pilots’ course and completed my high-school finals. Izzy continued to push me to go to the IDF academic reserves and study for a degree, and that is how I got to where I am today,” he said.
In their meeting, the president said that “the path to integrating different populations and sectors into Israeli society is still a long one. This is a national mission, and you are an inspiration to us all for opening doors to all populations and providing equal opportunities. In times of division between different parts of the populations, you represent connection and hope. By breaking the ‘glass ceiling’ and setting an example for other Israeli-Ethiopian youth, you inspire us all.”
Founded in 1998 by Canaan, the Ye’elim organization provides scholarships and organizes activities for its participants, teenagers, and children at risk. Since 2005, Ye’elim has focused its efforts on empowering Israeli-Ethiopian youth in the ‘Flying Proudly’ and ‘Pilot for a Day’ initiatives, which develops personal empowerment and motivation for meaningful military service.
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