Muslim diplomat speaks about career in Jewish state

John Milligan

The highest-ranking Muslim and first Bedouin diplomat in the history of the Israeli Foreign Ministry will share the story of how he went from living in a tent to becoming a respected consul.

Ishmael Khaldi will speak at Bowman Hall Room 137 Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Khaldi, former deputy consul general at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco, will speak about his path to becoming the highest-ranking Muslim in the Israeli Foreign Service as well as participating in a Q-and-A following his speech. The event is free and open to the public.

“An Evening with Ishmael Khaldi” is sponsored by several departments, including the Committee for Accuracy in the Middle East Reporting in America, the College of Arts and Sciences and Kent State Undergraduate Student Government.

Evan Gildenblatt, junior applied conflict management major and director of government affairs for USG, spearheaded the effort to bring Khaldi to campus. Gildenblatt said he found Khaldi’s story fascinating after hearing him speak in Los Angeles.

“His story is a real story of triumph. It’s the story of a disadvantaged minority succeeding in the Middle East,” Gildenblatt said. “I really think it’s a remarkable story of triumph over social norms, poverty and the glass ceiling.”


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Khaldi served in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Israeli Police and the Israeli Defense Forces before becoming the highest-ranking Muslim in the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He recalls his rise to prominence in his book “A Shepherd’s Journey: The Story of Israel’s First Bedouin Diplomat.”

Gildenblatt said he thinks Khaldi’s story is fascinating to all students, regardless of their concentration.

“I don’t think many people have ever heard anything like it,” Gildenblatt said. “I think it will give people some much needed perspective on global issues and what it’s like to be a minority Muslim in a majority Jewish state.”

Contact John Milligan at [email protected].