Ethiopian-born Tsega Melaku joins Kahlon’s party
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Ethiopian-born Tsega Melaku joins Kahlon’s party

Journalist, a former director of Israel Radio’s Reshet Alef, gets No. 3 slot on Kulanu Knesset slate

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Tsega Melaku, an Ethiopian-born activist and journalist, and a candidate for Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party. (screen capture: YouTube)
Tsega Melaku, an Ethiopian-born activist and journalist, and a candidate for Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party. (screen capture: YouTube)

Tsega Melaku, a former director of Israel Radio’s Reshet Alef station, was named the newest member of Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party on Sunday, Channel 2’s political correspondent reported.

Melaku, 47, joins the centrist Kulanu party as the number 3, and would be the seventh Ethiopian immigrant to become a Knesset member.

Kahlon is expected to make the announcement at a press conference in Tel Aviv Sunday evening, Amit Segal reported.

Melaku, who immigrated to Israel at the age of 16, was the first woman and the first Ethiopian to be appointed as director of the radio station Reshet Alef in 2008. She currently manages and is a presenter of an Amharic radio show on Israel Radio’s Reka station.

Melaku is an active leader in the Ethiopian community, and is a member of numerous nonprofit organizations that promote higher education for Ethiopian immigrants as a means of integration into Israeli society.

She recently published a book titled “Not in Our School,” documenting the racism she experienced when attempting to enroll her children in a better school.

Kahlon, a popular former communications minister for the Likud party, has yet to announce his full Knesset slate, but has so far enlisted a number of well known Israeli figures to his freshman party, including former ambassador to the US Michael Oren and anti-poverty activist and Israel Prize laureate Eli Alaluf.

On Thursday, Kahlon named former top IDF general Yoav Galant as number 2 in his party.

Kahlon is expected to announce his complete, final Knesset list of some 30 names next Thursday. Analyst Nehemia Gershuni’s average of the last six polls (Hebrew link), corrected for per-party polling errors over the past three election cycles, gives Kahlon eight out of 120 seats in the March 17 election.

Melaku is the third woman to join Kulanu after Jerusalem deputy mayor Rachel Azaria and Kiryat Shemona deputy mayor Dr. Yifat Sasha-Bitton. Melaku lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two teenage sons. She holds a BA in political science and sociology from Bar Ilan University and an MA in business from Touro College.

Lazar Berman contributed to this report.

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