Former IDF Chief of Staff Presents Scholarship to Ethiopian Student
Wortoo Matuko, 27, a third year student in industrial engineering and management at the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, was awarded a scholarship from former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz, a TAU graduate and supporter, in the presence of TAU President Joseph Klafter.
Wortoo immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at the age of three and settled with his large family in Ramla. His father is retired while his mother works as a caregiver for an elderly man. As part of TAU’s social involvement programs, Wortoo has been volunteering with youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Ramla through ELEM – Youth in Distress. After his studies, he hopes to combine working in his profession with being active in social organizations aiding youth on Israel’s social and geographical periphery.
“This scholarship will help me in my studies and give me a little air to breathe. It also strengthens me mentally – it shows that people want to invest in the younger generation,” says Wortoo. “People like Benny Gantz, who are ready to help someone without knowing them beforehand, are a role model for me and I hope that one day, like Benny, I will have the opportunity to help another student,” he says.
Wortoo added that receiving the scholarship from Benny Gantz was meaningful and symbolic as Gantz had served as the commander of the forces responsible for Operation Solomon, which brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991.