The First Black Professor at an Israeli University

tefferaAnbessa Teferra was appointed to the position of senior lecturer of Semitic languages at Tel Aviv University in Israel. He is the first immigrant from Ethiopia to be granted status as a senior lecturer at an Israeli University. About 2.2 percent of the population of Israel is of Ethiopian descent.

Dr. Teferra was born in Ethiopia in 1962. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in linguistics at Addis Ababa University and served on the faculty there for five years. He came to Israel in 1989 and studied at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Teferra completed his Ph.D. at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was the first Ethiopian immigrant in Israel to earn a doctoral degree.

Dr. Teferra was a teaching fellow for the past five years. Now 15 years after obtaining his Ph.D., Dr. Teferra has secured a tenured faculty appointment. He teaches classes in Semitic languages in the department of Hebrew Culture Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Related Articles


  1. The question that needs to be asked is why Tel Aviv University waited so long before finally appointing a native Ethiopian to a tenured faculty position. Let’s be clear, the state of Israel has a long storied history of mistreating ‘Ethiopian Jewish” immigrants as second class citizens. The only way Dr. Teferra was able to secure this position is that Tel Aviv University administrators were absolutely certain that he would champion the causes of White Israel over his own Ethiopian brethren within the boundaries of the state of Israel.

    Unfortunately, the state of Israel will use Dr. Teferra as the “poster boy” to convince the rest of the world that it avails opportunities for all of those who come to its shore. Finally, I would like to hear some of Dr. Teferra thoughts about the treatment of Ethiopian immigrants by White Israelis in South Tel Aviv.

    • This comment is unfair to the professor in question,…to suggest that the only way he could have been appointed was to be sure that he would promote White Israeli interests and not African interests should be taken back with an apology until the writer knows what Teferra is made of.

      As the first Black Chair professor in Austria who has championed the interests of Africans, I would be very sad to hear a similar thing directed my way!

      Why not consider that the university appointed the African professor on merit?

      • I concur that the aforementioned comment truly unfair to the professor. However, said comment is shedding light on how horrific the conditions are for the Ethiopians in Israel.

        Things are so displeasing–as it relates to the condition of most Ethiopians in Israel– so much so that the commenter is compelled to thinks that Israelis of European descent would not acknowledged this professor on the premise of his merits…

    • i never knew some Africans are racist. Its not easy to be a prof so respect the professor. He isnt a boy to be manipulated by Tel Aviv university staffs

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs