Belaynesh Zevadia

Diplomat who served as Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia. Honored to light a torch on Israel’s Independence Day together with other top-achieving women.

Born in Gondar, Ethiopia to a father who was a Kes (a religious rabbinical/priest figure) in the Ethiopian Israeli community. At the age of 17 upon finishing her high school studies, Belaynesh immigrated to Israel through Egypt. She lived in Jerusalem and studied at Ulpan Etzion in the Baka neighborhood. She then worked at the ulpan and at an absorption center with new immigrants from Ethiopia. She went on to study at Hebrew University, earning a B.A. in International Relations and African Studies and an M.A. in Anthropology. During her studies, she supported herself by working in cleaning and babysitting jobs. She views education as the key to advancing Ethiopian Israelis.

In 1992, she became the first Ethiopian Israeli woman accepted to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Cadets Course, following which she joined the Africa department and then served as an emissary for public diplomacy to the United Nations. From 1996-2002, she served in the Israeli Consul in Chicago, during which she was awarded the Black History Month Award for her contribution to interracial relations. In 2005 she was appointed Israel’s Deputy Consul General of the United States’ Southwest region, and in 2012 she was appointed Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Burundi. She worked to strengthen the relations between Israel and Ethiopian in the areas of economics, agriculture, and medicine.

In 2014, she was chosen as one of 14 top-achieving women in Israel to light a torch on Israel’s Independence Day.

Media Appearances:

Language: English | Amharic | Hebrew