Ishmael 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.
Ishmael 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.
Ishmael 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.
Ishmael 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.”
2010: A Shepherd’s Journey: the story of Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat. ISBN 978-965-555-473-1