The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed Ismail Khaldi as Ambassador to the State of Eritrea. Thus, he is the first Arab to occupy such a position.
Khaldi, a 49-year-old father of three, was known for his bold criticism of Israeli policy, particularly with regard to racial discrimination against Arabs as well as to Jewish national law. These criticisms earned him numerous warnings from his superiors, particularly since 2004, when he started to hold the post of Deputy Ambassador.
Originally from the Arab village of Al-Khawalid near Nazareth, Khaldi previously worked at the Israeli Embassy in London and was among those who fought against the boycott of Israeli goods. He did not hesitate to criticize the Israeli authorities through tweets that caused great controversy in diplomatic and media circles. According to him, his critical comments are made with the aim of fighting for a better future for Israel, which he considers, at the same time, to be a “wonderful country”, and which he defends whenever necessary.
Khaldi was the victim of a vicious attack at the Jerusalem railway station by extremist Jewish security agents. This attack was similar to the one against George Floyd by the United States police. This incident made the front page of several newspapers in Israel and around the world before news of his appointment as ambassador came out.
The “Israel Speaks Arabic” page commented on the appointment by pointing out: “This is the first time that an Arab Bedouin has been appointed as Israel’s ambassador. Ismail Al-Khaldi was appointed Israeli Ambassador to Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. Khalidi, who is 49 years old, is from the village of Al-Khawalid in Galilee in northern Israel. He was the first Bedouin to join the Israeli diplomatic corps. He has served as Israel’s Consul General in San Francisco, as well as Director of the Anti-Boycott of Israeli Goods Department at the Israeli Embassy in London. Khalidi holds a master’s degree in international relations.”
Al-Khaldi described the Bedouins of Israel as the best bridge of understanding between Israel and its neighbors, saying: “There are differences in traditions and religions among the people of Israel, but in the end, we are all Israelis.”