Ishmael Khaldi

Ismail Khaldi (Arabic: إسماعيل خالدي‎, Hebrew: איסמעיל חאלדי‎; born 1971)[1][2] is the first Bedouin diplomat in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ismail Khaldi
Ishmael Khaldi.png
Israeli vice consul, San Francisco
In office
December 2006 – August 2009
Preceded byOmer Caspi
Personal details
BornIsrael Khawalid, Israel

Early lifeEdit

Ismail Khaldi was born in Khawaled, Israel a village near Haifa.[3] He is the third of eleven children.[1] He lived in a Bedouin tent until the age of eight. He walked four miles (6 km) round trip to attend school[2] and tended flocks of sheep. He said his family's ties with its Jewish neighbors go back to the days of the early Zionist pioneers from Eastern Europe who settled in the Galilee region in the 1920s.[4]

Khaldi earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Haifa[5] and a master's degree in political science and international relations from Tel Aviv University.[2] He served in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Israel Police, and in the Israel Defense Forces as a political analyst.[6]

Khaldi initiated a project called "Hike and Learn with Bedouins in the Galilee" that has brought thousands of young Jews to Khawaled to learn about Bedouin culture and history. He said these encounters inspired him to become a diplomat.[4]

Diplomatic careerEdit

Khaldi began working for the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 2004.[5] In June 2006, he was appointed to serve in San Francisco, California, United States.[4][7][8] In August 2009, Khaldi was appointed policy advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman.[6] He describes Lieberman as "one of the most realistic, of course, but honest and direct politicians in Israel."[3]

On Sunday 5th Jul 2020, an internal committee appointed Ishmael Khaldi as Israel's first Bedouin Ambassador, to take up the post in Eritrea.[9][10]

June 2020 attackEdit

In June, 2020, Khaldi filed a police complaint in Israel, after he was beaten by security guards at Jerusalem’s central bus station. Khaldi believed that the attack was a case of ethnic profiling, and he wanted to bring attention to "racist behavior in parts of Israeli society".[11]


In 2011, Khaldi was due to give a talk at the invitation of the University of Edinburgh's Jewish Society.[12] Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted the venue, preventing the talk. This was viewed by many[who?] as a blow to freedom of speech on campuses.[13][14] University security officers had to be brought in after 50 protesters claimed to have shut down a lecture.

He was also disrupted by activists at Rutgers University and by Julio Pino, a professor of history at Kent State.[15][16]

Political viewsEdit

Khaldi said there is still a long way to go before the Bedouin minority achieves full equality in Israel but the situation is improving, and more Bedouins are graduating from high school, entering universities and getting better jobs than ever before.[4] "There are differences in tradition and religion between us, but at the end of the day we are all Israeli citizens".[2] He considers himself a proud Bedouin and regards a Jewish state as beneficial to his community. He says it is through the alliance with Israel that the Bedouins have begun to transcend the isolation created by their nomadic traditions.[3]


  • 2010: A Shepherd's Journey: the story of Israel's first Bedouin diplomat. ISBN 978-965-555-473-1

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Israel’s Leaders: Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Action", World Security Network, 29 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Hazan, Jenny. "Ishmael Khaldi tells what it's really like being a minority in Israel",, 31 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Ishmael Khaldi: A Bedouin, a Muslim And an Unlikely Israeli Diplomat
  4. ^ a b c d Kalman, Matthew (24 November 2006). "S.F.'s newest consul enjoys being Bedouin, proud to be Israeli". SF Gate. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  5. ^ a b Unterman, Phoebe (7 October 2010). "Israeli Diplomat Ishmael Khaldi Speaks At USC". NeonTommy. Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. ^ a b Israel’s First Bedouin Diplomat Visits Santa Barbara
  7. ^ Peled, Asafa (22 June 2006). "Israel's first Bedouin envoy". Ynetnews.
  8. ^ Wall, Alexandra J. (2 July 2006). "From shepherd to diplomat: Bedouin named deputy consul". j. the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2006.
  9. ^ In first, Israel to appoint Bedouin ambassador to head overseas mission Israel Hayom 6th Jul 2020
  10. ^ "Israel set to appoint first-ever Bedouin ambassador to head Eritrea mission". 2020-07-06. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  11. ^ Arab Israeli diplomat says security guards choked him, Josef Federman, 17 June 2020, ABCnews
  12. ^[bare URL]
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2012-02-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Rubin, Deborah (24 November 2010). "Pro-Palestinian events at Rutgers draw scrutiny". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  16. ^ Jaschik, Scott (31 October 2011). "Is 'death to Israel' shout appropriate at campus lecture?". USA Today. Retrieved 18 March 2012.

External linksEdit