Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
has appointed Druze Professor for Hebrew Literature Naim Araidi as Israel's ambassador to New Zealand, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday. This is the first time a member of the Druze community is appointed an ambassador in a political appointment.
Born in Kfar Maghar, Araidi, 62, wrote his doctorate on the poetry of Uri Zvi Grinberg. He gives regular classes at the Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities, serves as the dean at the Arab Academic College for Education and is a member of the Sapir Prize board. In 2008, he won the Prime Minister's Award for Hebrew Literature.
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"After years of representing the State of Israel unofficially, it would be a great privilege for me to do so in an official capacity and show Israel's beautiful side, as well as the coexistence that despite all the hardships can only be maintained in a true democracy," he said.
"Araidi represents the beautiful face of Israel, in which a talented person, irrespective of religion or sector – can reach the highest places on merit, and be an inspiration for all Israelis," Minister Lieberman told Yedioth.
"I am convinced that he will honor the State of Israel as an ambassador as he did as a writer."