Israel appoints first-ever Bedouin ambassador

Ron Cantor —  July 9, 2020 — Leave a comment

Israel made history this week when it appointed a Bedouin citizen of the Jewish state to serve as its ambassador abroad.

Ishmael Khaldi will become Israel’s ambassador to Eritrea. He also made history as the first Bedouin Israeli to serve as a diplomat in the Foreign Ministry since joining the foreign service in 2004. He has held several diplomatic posts in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Khaldi, who is Muslim, is from a Bedouin community in the North. While he grew up living in a tent and working as a shepherd, Khaldi has forged a trailblazing career in the Jewish state. He served as a police officer and received a master’s degree in political science from Tel Aviv University before rising to senior levels of the Foreign Ministry.

For more than a decade now Khaldi has been a staunch defender of Israel, countering Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) efforts abroad. He often speaks of his national pride as an Israeli Arab.

Khaldi made news last month and has filed a complaint against police after being roughed up by three offices as he was taking video at a bus station. The officers pinned him down to the floor.

“I screamed ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t move,’’ he said.

Despite this, Khaldi rejected any comparisons to George Floyd, the black American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Nevertheless, Khaldi said he will be vindicated by security camera footage and has demanded it be made public. He may also sue for defamation.