Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew

A mini-documentary that follows the personal journey of Mekonen abebe, a young African-Israeli Jewish soldier, as he returns to Ethiopia to explore his roots, make peace with his past and embrace his future in Israel.

Documentary    •     2016     •     40 Minutes     •     ENGLISH & HEBREW W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES


Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew is the new mini-documentary from the creators of Netflix-featured Beneath the Helmet and PBS-featured Israel Inside. The film follows the backstory and personal journey of Mekonen Abebe, a young African-Israeli Jew, once a young shepherd in Africa and now a commander in the Israeli Defense Forces. Mekonen is one of many brave young men and women drafted into compulsory service in the IDF, to defend their homeland and the liberal values of democracy, freedom and equality.

Born and raised in an Ethiopian village, Mekonen was a 12-year-old shepherd when his father died suddenly, less than a day before his family was to move to Israel. The film accompanies Mekonen back to Africa on an emotional journey. He explores his roots, makes peace with his past and embraces his future in Israel.

After a difficult adjustment period in Israel, Mekonen was fortunate to attend the Hodayot High School, which educates children from troubled backgrounds and helps integrate them into Israeli society. Mekonen became a decorated officer in the IDF, while staying true to his Ethiopian roots and culture.

Mekonen is an uplifting and inspiring film that will move audiences and show viewers that anything is possible with the right attitude, tools and support.


Co-Producers: Pamela Claman, Roberta Kaylie, Andy Lappin, Adam Milstein
Executive Producers: Raphael Shore, Naty Saidoff
Director: Rebecca Shore
Written & Edited: Baruch Goldberg
Cinematography: Oren Rosenfeld
Producers: Rebecca Shore, Oren Rosenfeld


"I have been working hard my entire life for this moment. For the world to know my people and to see it on film. This is not just a story about Mekonen, but a story about my home, both in Ethiopia and in Israel.”
Body guard for the LA Consul General
"“It was epic! I was totally blown away by the entire evening. The movie was incredibly powerful and it was so inspiring to see every Israel organization on campus coming together! You could feel the unity!”
Zev Prince
CUNY Student
"Well done! The event was both inspiring and fun. Thank you for commitment to bringing a love of Israel through creative films and programs.”
Dani Dayan
NY Consul General of Israel
"Our audience of 150 Israel Club members loved Mekonen. They reacted in a very positive way to the concepts of inclusiveness, the need to serve the State of Israel, and how many people were there to help Mekonen become a leader and follow in his father's footsteps as the leader of his Ethiopian village."
Ira Seinfeld
President, Valencia Isles Israel Club

More Films

By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. We use cookies to provide you with a great experience and to help our website run effectively.

Contact Us

We're happy to hear from you. If you have a question, check out our FAQ to see if we've already answered it. If we haven't, please contact us using the form below.