Thursday, November 30, 2006

  • Thursday, November 30, 2006
  • Elder of Ziyon
A great article, originally printed in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Israel's new consul in San Francisco is a Bedouin named Ishmael Khaldi. This article does not paper over the very real problems that Israeli Arabs suffer but it shows how a mature person can handle such problems.

All Arabs and Muslims can learn a lot from Khaldi. Of course, they would call him a traitor and consider him a target for terror.
Ishmael Khaldi lived in a Bedouin tent until he was eight years old, walked four miles round trip to school each day and still goes home on weekends to what he calls the "Middle Ages" to tend to flocks of sheep.

But next week, Khaldi will leave his tiny village of Khawalid - population 450 - in the northern Galilee region and fly to San Francisco to become Israel's first Bedouin diplomat and the nation's first Muslim to rise through the ranks of the Israeli foreign service.

Of the more than one million Israeli Arabs, only 170,000 are Bedouins, many of whom were once nomadic desert dwellers. In recent years, Arab radicals in the Israeli parliament and Islamic movements who deplore the existence of the Jewish state have dominated Israeli-Arab relations, and the six-year-long Palestinian intifada has stretched their allegiance to Israel to a breaking point.

But Khaldi, while conceding that the situation of Arabs in Israel "is not perfect," is an unrepentant Israeli who says he is not betraying his Arab "brothers" by becoming the new Israeli consul to San Francisco.

"Many of us are proud to describe ourselves as Israelis. Everyone who lives here is an Israeli," Khaldi said in an exclusive interview on the eve of his departure for San Francisco. "Israel is in a clash with the Arab world, with our fellow Muslim brothers, with the Palestinians. It's a big challenge. But I am sure that Israels enemies are not Arab culture, nor Arab heritage, nor the Muslim religion. It's a political situation."

Khaldi, 35, is no newcomer to the United States or the Bay Area. He arrived in the United States after the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000 and was soon in demand as a speaker at college campuses.

"I'm a Bedouin and we are nomads, so I felt at home traveling coast to coast on a Greyhound bus. Twice," he said.

During his stay in the United States, Khaldi said he was shocked to discover that American students were unaware of Israel's large Arab minority and the fact they have the right to vote, elect members to parliament, and become judges, professors and senior army officers.

Khaldi 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.

"From the late 1920s until 1948 when the state was established, the first pioneers came and lived mainly in the north, building kibbutzim," or collective farms, Khaldi said. "The people who came were very sophisticated. They were mainly Yiddish speakers... Local Bedouins established very close relations with them, even though they were two different cultures and two different worlds with almost nothing in common. It's something that not many people know.

"My grandmother, who passed away only last year, spoke Yiddish. She was a shepherdess, she never went to school, but she had human contact almost every day with the people from (the next-door kibbutz) Kfar Hamaccabi. She worked with them while they were planting orchards."

...
"Of course, there is a lot of frustration, and we are facing a lot of problems. But to make it into hatred and a grudge? We must go one step forward."

Khaldi said there is still a long way to go before the Bedouin minority achieves full equality in Israeli society, but he noted that more Bedouins are graduating from high school, entering universities and getting better jobs than ever before.

"You can look at the differences and say: The government treats us as second- or third-class citizens, or it can be a challenge. It's our challenge to use the differences and try to understand and combine the best of both worlds. The way is long. It's not easy," he said.

Khaldi first encountered anti-Zionist radicalism in high school, he said, and didn't like it. Once during a memorial day for Israels fallen soldiers, Khaldi and two classmates stood at attention to mark two minutes of silent tribute. The gesture provoked derision and insults from fellow Arab students.

"There was a clash with the rest of the Arab kids. They were not respectful," he said.

In following years, Khaldi was turned down twice for an Israeli Foreign Ministry training course before finally being accepted. Meanwhile, he acquired a bachelors degree in political science from Haifa University and a masters degree in international relations from Tel Aviv University. He has served as a border police officer in Jerusalem and as an official in the Israeli Defense Ministry.

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

But even after an intensive six-month Foreign Ministry diplomatic training course, he says he still looks to village traditions for guidance.

"I come from a culture where negotiations are the best way to understanding," he said. "The tribes used to live and compete with each other and fight and kill each other, but at the end of the day they would have to make sulha (a peace pact). This is the way... At the end of the road, you need to find a common ground, you need to find a solution. Something that will satisfy both sides."

Khaldi is well aware that he will be treated with suspicion by Israeli critics but believes his story presents a true picture of modern Israel.

"I am always torn," he said. "I am torn between modernity and tradition. I am torn between two totally different worlds. I am Israeli above everything."

It is a brilliant idea to send this honest, patriotic man to San Francisco to counter the daily slanders of Israeli racism that the left coast offers.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz

Loading...

Recent posts from other blogs

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

Contact

elder -at- elderofziyon dot com

translate

E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون
This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 23,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review breaking the silence Cardozo Chanukah Christians conspiracy theories Cyprus Daphne Anson Davis report DCI-P double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada EoZNews eoztv Erekat EU Euro-Mid Observer Fake Civilians 2014 Fatah featured fisking flotilla free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian gunness hamas Hamas war crimes hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Juan Cole Judea-Samaria Kairos Karl Vick ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Miftah Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Natural gas Nazi nftp NGO NIF norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peter Beinart poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist purimshpiel Qaradawi Qassam calendar Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN unesco unhrc United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Yemen zahran zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive