Emissary Named Zimna

41 Minutes and 5 seconds , 1993
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Directed by: Micha Shagrir
Production: Shiba Communications Ltd.

In 1955, twelve Ethiopian children were secretly brought to Israel. They were taken to the Kfar Batya boarding school in order to train them as future leaders and emissaries to the Beta-Israel community back in Ethiopia. They learned Hebrew, Israeli culture and history. One of these children was Zimna Brahano. At the time, the religious establishment in Israel was opposed to bringing “the Falasha” to Israel and did not recognize them as Jews. Zimna and his classmates returned to Ethiopia, but many of them immigrated to Israel during the 1960’s, including Zimna himself who joined the IDF and volunteered for the paratroopers. Upon his discharge he was sent to Ethiopia, and under the cover as an engineer for the Israeli governmental engineering company, collected information about Jews who had escaped the civil war to Sudan. He took part in most of the major efforts to bring the Jews of Ethiopia to Israel and to locating those who remained behind. In 1993 Micha Shagrir accompanied Zimna to the Ethiopian-Sudanese border to look for Jews. Using Zimna’s life as a backdrop, along with the long history of Jews in Ethiopia, this film takes a look at Zimna the man, as well as his important work with the Ethiopian community.

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