|Israeli vice consul, San Francisco|
December 2006 – August 2009
|Preceded by||Omer Caspi|
Ismail Khaldi was born in Khawaled, a village near Haifa. He is the third of eleven children. He lived in a Bedouin tent until the age of eight. He walked four miles (6 km) round trip to attend school 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.
Khaldi earned a bachelors degree in political science from the University of Haifa and a masters degree in political science and international relations from Tel Aviv University. He served in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Israel Police, and in the Israel Defense Forces as a political analyst.
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.
Khaldi began working for the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 2004. In June 2006, he was appointed to serve in San Francisco, California, United States. In August 2009, Khaldi was appointed policy advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. He describes Lieberman as "one of the most realistic, of course, but honest and direct politicians in Israel."
In 2011, Mr. Khaldi began to give a talk at the invitation of the University of Edinburgh's Jewish Society. Rather than allow the talk to continue as planned and quiz Mr. Khaldi afterwards, 'pro-Palestinian' protestors mobbed the venue and refused to let Mr. Khaldi speak. This was viewed by many as a blow to freedom of speech on campuses. University security officers had to be brought in after 50 protesters claimed to have shut down a lecture. In retaliation, a talk was hosted by 'Students for Justice in Palestine' earlier that day. It was delivered by Mike Prysner, who has been criticised most recently for drawing parallels between Israel and Nazism, in contravention of the EUMC definition of Anti-Semitism.
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. "There are differences in tradition and religion between us, but at the end of the day we are all Israeli citizens". 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.
- 2010: A Shepherd's Journey: the story of Israel's first Bedouin diplomat. ISBN 978-965-555-473-1
- "Israel’s Leaders: Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Action", World Security Network, 29 April 2009.
- Hazan, Jenny. "Ishmael Khaldi tells Aish.com what it's really like being a minority in Israel", Aish.com, 31 July 2010.
- Ishmael Khaldi: A Bedouin, a Muslim And an Unlikely Israeli Diplomat
- Kalman, Matthew (24 November 2006). "S.F.'s newest consul enjoys being Bedouin, proud to be Israeli". SF Gate. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
- Unterman, Phoebe (7 October 2010). "Israeli Diplomat Ishmael Khaldi Speaks At USC". NeonTommy. Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California.
- Israel’s First Bedouin Diplomat Visits Santa Barbara
- Peled, Asafa (22 June 2006). "Israel's first Bedouin envoy". Ynetnews.
- Wall, Alexandra J. (2 July 2006). "From shepherd to diplomat: Bedouin named deputy consul". j. the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California.
- Rubin, Deborah (24 November 2010). "Pro-Palestinian events at Rutgers draw scrutiny". njjewishnews.com. New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Jaschik, Scott (31 October 2011). "Is 'death to Israel' shout appropriate at campus lecture?". usatoday.com. USA Today. Retrieved 18 March 2012.