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Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew (2016)

The film follows the backstory of Mekonen Abebe, a new commander in the Israeli Defense Forces, as he returns to Africa to explore his roots, make peace with his past and embrace his future in Israel.


Rebecca Shore


Baruch Goldberg

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Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew is a 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 Ethiopia and now a commander in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). 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, as 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 Youth Village, which educates primarily immigrant children from difficult...

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Plot Keywords:

ethiopian | jew | See All (2) »


Documentary | Short



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Release Date:

25 April 2016 (Israel) See more »

Filming Locations:

Israel See more »


Box Office


$350,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

A Unique Perspective, An Intimate Journey
2 July 2017 | by amylalbertsonSee all my reviews

Mekonen: The Journey of An African Jew is an endearing, moving film following the story of young Mekonen from Israel to Ethiopia where he revisits the village he grew up in and makes peace with the loss of his father. The Ethiopian Jewish community is unknown to many and this film gives a look into the fascinating personal story of one of them, a story emblematic of the journey of many. I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in unique cultural stories, Israeli, Jewish, or Ethiopian culture, or really just anyone interested in something one of a kind.

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