Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has named Bedouin diplomat Ismail Khaldi his Middle East advisor, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.
Khaldi was the first Bedouin to join Israel's Foreign Service. He currently serves as deputy consul in San Francisco, California.
His appointment is said to stem from Lieberman's' desire to appoint someone familiar with the complexities of the region who is also fluent in Arabic.
Khaldi, 38, is third of 11 siblings. His family resides in a small Bedouin village in upper Galilee. The village is said to have no electricity, no running water and neither a school nor an infirmary. Khaldi served in the IDF and worked as a political analyst for the Defense Ministry and the Israeli Police. He holds a Masters Degree in Political Science from Tel Aviv University.
Sources in the Foreign Ministry also said the appointment carries an important message, namely that it is Lieberman – accused by his rivals of being a racist – who will be the first minister to name a minority as a close advisor.
Other appointments in the Foreign Ministry include Hagit Ben-Yaakov as Lieberman's European advisor, Zeev Gur-Aryeh as his Russia and former USSR bloc advisor and Omer Caspi as his US advisor; all of whom will report to Naor Gilon, Lieberman's chief of staff.