Khaldi spoke to the audience about his journey from a Muslim shepherd to an Israeli Diplomat. He shared the story of his childhood life in a Bedouin tent in a village near Haifa, where he lived until he was eight years old. He attended the University of Haifa and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. Later, he earned a masters degree in political science and international relations from the University of Tel Aviv. After serving in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Israeli Police, and the IDF, Khaldi became the first Bedouin diplomat to be in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What many people don’t understand about Israel is that there is a plethora of diversity and minorities. Israel values the relationship between all minorities within the country and works hard to cultivate and maintain such relationships. The promise of good relationships with minorities has been embedded in Israel’s values since its establishment on May 14th, 1948. The UMass audience listened as Khaldi spoke about the important work of minorities in Israel, specifically his story of becoming an Israeli Diplomat as a Bedouin. Khaldi was able to share his own “minority story” that is often overlooked by less-informed individuals.
The event was targeted at students who have not yet made up their minds about Israel and also at students looking to learn more about the people living in Israel. Khaldi focused mostly on discussing his personal experiences and narrative instead of the politics involved. He was successful at opening some students’ minds to the minorities in Israel and was a great speaker to have advocating for Israel.
About 25 students attended, with one or two from SJP who left before the event concluded. MEMRI clips were also shown, which Khaldi responded to with his own personal experiences. This segment of the presentation was especially powerful.
Contributed by CAMERA intern Nikki Teperman