Photo: Haim Tzach, Jerusalem Report

MK Pnina Tamano-Shata, an Ono Graduate who currently serves as Israel’s Minister of Aliyah and Integration, was the subject of an in-depth profile in the Jerusalem Report magazine.

Tamano-Shata’s story begins in the village of Wuzaba, in the Gondar region of Ethiopia.  While she knows she was born 1981, she doesn’t know her exact date of birth as there is no record of it. Minister Tamano-Shata jokes that this allows her to identify with whatever horoscope prediction in the paper most suits her, and more seriously that she can choose her own luck.

The article tells how Tamano-Shata, at a young age, came to Israel as part of Operation Moses, a secret project in which the Israeli government brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to their homeland. She was placed on a truck and driven across the desert to a refugee camp in Sudan and from there flew by plane to Israel. 

After completing her education and serving in the army, Tamano-Shata studied law at Ono Academic College.  When asked why she chose this college over a university, Minister Tamano-Shata said that she first applied to a university but was told that all the places for Ethiopians in the Law School were already taken. She was advised to study logistics instead.  However, Tamano-Shata believed that it was important for her to study law because she would need this knowledge and background in order to change Israeli society. Tamano-Shata insisted on studying law, applied to Ono and received the support she needed. After graduation, Tamano-Shata used her training working with at risk youth, and then as a journalist. 

The article continues, describing Tamano-Shata’s political career, her rise in the Blue and White party, her work as a Knesset member and her appointment as the first Ethiopian-Israeli Minister in the government.

The full article can be read at: