MA'ALOT-TARSHISHA, NORTHERN ISRAEL – In a recent pre-Independence Day ceremony, an Ethiopian-born lone soldier in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Golani Mountain Brigade was recognized as an Outstanding Soldier.
IDF GOC Northern Command chief Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, who presented the award to Sgt. Ezra Adana and the other soldiers, also delivered greetings on behalf of all the military forces at the festive event, held in the Upper Galilee town ten-days ago.
Adana's story is one of determination and perseverance, friendship, and love for his brothers-in-arms, whom are several years his junior.
Adana lived at the Kalisher Absorption Center in Be'er Sheva prior to his enlistment.
Center Director Talia Artzi said that since Adana has no family in Israel – his mother still lives in Ethiopia - the absorption center staff decided to "adopt" him as extended family and all made the several hour trek from the Negev in order to attend the ceremony.
"He is very, very excited," Artzi said, adding that Adana is one of hundreds of lone soldiers without family in the country assisted and looked after with the help of The Jewish Agency for Israel.
"For us, Ezra is our family, and we are very very proud of him," Artzi said.