November 14, 2006 / 23 Cheshvan 5767
Nava Arka (27), her family of seven brothers and sisters and her extended family all came to Israel in 1984 on the historical Operation Moses rescue mission. Her father, who insisted on following in the biblical footsteps of Abraham, led his family to live in Be’ersheva. They lived at the Jewish Agency’s Nurit Absorption Center before moving to their own apartment. Nava, the youngest child, was born when her father was 58 years old.
Although she claims he spoiled her, her father has been her constant role model. “It was not easy for my father in Israel, but he always pushed us to learn, to have courage, and to follow our dreams.”
Nava served in a communications unit in the army. Upon her discharge, she was determined to go to University, and worked in Eilat to earn money for college. Nava received a Jewish Agency supported Student Authority Scholarship for her studies at the Beit Berl Teachers College where she worked hard and earned a BA in education, with a minor in children at-risk and special education.
Returning to Be’ersheva after her studies, Nava wanted to do something to help new Ethiopian immigrants. She accepted a job as social director for the Kedma program at the Jewish Agency’s Altchul Absorption Center.
“Kedma is a great program,” says Nava. “It gives young Ethiopian immigrants between the ages of 18-30 who do not really fit into any programs, the opportunity to learn Hebrew and to prepare for vocational training or higher education.”
Nava assists these newcomers, who have been in Israel for less than two years, in all aspects of their absorption. She is their mentor, advisor and friend.
“I know how difficult it is for these new immigrants. As an Ethiopian, I understand what they are going through. As an Israeli, I help pave the way for their successful integration into Israeli society.”