For the first time in the history of Israel, the Foreign Ministry appointed a citizen of Ethiopian origin as ambassador.

Belaynesh Zevadia, who was the first Ethiopian cadet in the Foreign Ministry, will serve as the Israeli diplomat to Adis Ababa, the capital of the country where she was born and lived in before moving to Israel.

The government’s nominations committee, lead by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced the appointment on Monday evening, and in the coming weeks the appointment will come to the government for approval.

Zevadia, who is 43-years-old, arrived in Israel at age 17. Since joining the Foreign Ministry, she has served in Israeli consulates in Chicago and Houston.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that he welcomed the appointment. “The appointment is a message to the Israeli public, one that is currently fighting racism against Ethiopians,” said Lieberman.

“This transmits a message of fighting discrimination. In Israel, people are chosen based on their ability to serve the public, rather than their skin color or sex. I am convinced that she will represent Israel with respect,” he added.

MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) praised Zevadia’s appointment, saying that it is a “source of pride for both Israeli society and for the Ethiopian community,” and that her appointment should “serve as a model for all those who seek to progress and succeed.”

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