Choice to Head Ethiopian National Project is Controversial

from The Jerusalem Post:

Ethiopian Israelis reject possible project head appointment

The likely appointment of a new CEO to head one of the Ethiopian community’s flagship organizations for absorption and education has been sharply criticized by some community leaders, with one group seriously threatening to take legal action if the appointment comes to fruition, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Roni Akele, currently director of the non-profit Fidel Association for Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews, was touted Monday evening at a board meeting of the Ethiopian National Project (ENP) to take over as director of the multi-million-shekel initiative set up in 2002 to tackle the needs of the 110,000-strong Ethiopian immigrant community here.

However, over the past few weeks, elements within the community have voiced anger over Akele’s potential appointment, suggesting he had not followed the prestigious organization’s protocols and even had manipulated members of the decision-making body.

A statement from the ENP’s legal counsel immediately denounced the claims, which are being spearheaded by Isaachar Mekonen, a representative of the Ethiopian Jewish Community Organizations and chairman of the Zionists Israel Organization – Officers Forum, along with several other key leaders.

About: The ENP was launched in 2002 with funds raised primarily by the Jewish Federations of North America and a matching amount from the Israeli government.

Today, some 84 Jewish federations contribute to the ENP. It also receives support from representatives of the Ethiopian Jewish Community Organizations, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Israel and Keren Hayesod-UIA, as well as dozens of local authorities in Israel.