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First Ethiopian Female IDF Doctor Speaks Out

First Ethiopian Female IDF Doctor Speaks Out

October 3, 2019

Negev Development & Community Programs

The Jerusalem Post Dr. Hadas Malada-Matzri, a graduate of BGU’s Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School, has become an outspoken activist fighting for Ethiopian rights in Israel.

Dr. Hadas Malada-Matzri, BGU medical school graduate, is speaking out on racism

The first Ethiopian-Israeli female doctor in the Israel Defense Forces (serving with the rank of captain), Dr. Malada-Matzri took to the streets last July along with thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis to protest the deadly shooting of 18-year-old Solomon Tekah.

The media attention the riots generated opened up a platform for members of the community to speak out on the challenges they have endured as black immigrants to Israel.

Malada-Matzri took to social media and talked about being called “kushit” (a crude, racist slur) by her classmates, and of patients, including a pilot with a rank of colonel, refusing to be treated by her. A female soldier said she didn’t want to go to the “smelly Ethiopian doctor.”

Malada-Matzri also told of the time that she took two of her young children to an appointment at the mother-child health clinic in Ofakim and was subjected to stone-throwing and name-calling by children at a nearby school.

But Malada-Matzri has not let racism stop her from being successful or from speaking out on behalf of her people.

She immigrated to Israel in 1988 at the age of four as part of the Operation Solomon rescue mission. At that time, she was suffering from malnutrition and malaria. She spent her first six months in Israel in rehabilitation and has said in interviews that this experience is what led her to become a doctor.

Today, Malad-Matzri is an established medical professional in the Negev. Besides her medical degree, she also studied emergency medicine at BGU’s Recanati School for Community Health Professions and taught anatomy to visiting American students and Israeli medical students at BGU. She also served as a research assistant in the plastic surgery department and as an assistant doctor in internal medicine at Soroka University Medical Center. For a period of time she also worked at the Addis Ababa Hospital’s Children’s Ward in Ethiopia.

She specializes in family medicine and works in Clalit Health Service’s southern region. She also volunteers in Soroka’s children’s ward playroom and previously volunteered at the Mother Teresa orphanage with children in Ethiopia who have AIDS.

Dr. Malada-Matzri is a member of a follow-up committee that was established following a decision by the government to promote the health of Ethiopian Israelis. She also serves on the blood-donation committee on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

Read more on the Jerusalem Post website>>