Thursday, May 19, 2011
Ishmael Khaldi a Diplomat for Peace
A Shepherd's Journey
Ishmael Khaldi, Ishmael Khaldi Publisher
Ishmael Khaldi is an Israeli Bedouin from the Bedouin village of Khawaldi. Khawaldi was a spontaneous village thrown together and at first it was made of tents. The tents were divided into two room. One room for the men and the other for women. Later on the village adopted Barakias or rather wooden shacks with hot tin rooves. The village was unrecognized and had no running water or road. For water they were dependent on the nearby kibbutz and their generosity. Khawaldi is located in the north just outside of Haifa.
The Bedouin of the north early on forged good relations with the incoming Jews. There were many reason for this. One was that since bedouin were nomad and constantly on the go they never really formed any roots. The Felahin or village Arabs are rooted and settled. Hence they are children of the Earth. The Bedouin have never really gotten on with them. Being constantly on the move has caused the Bedouin to be less devout and to cherish their coffee and cigarettes. They never really got along with he fellahin. Having met some Israeli Bedouin I can attest that from their testimony this seems to be a truth.
Ishmael Khaldi was the third son, who recognized for his brilliance was taped in the shoulder to pursue a University Education. His brothers went on to serve in the Israeli border patrol. Something for which the Bedouin is an honor and an obligation. Ishmael Khaldi went to elementary school in an Arab Village. The teachers were praised as dedicated and went through a lot to get there. However, there were constant scuffles with the fellahin children. In Israel the Bedouin that I knew from Arab E Shibli had similar problems with the neighboring fellahin.
Later on he went to a Christian Arab High School. He did well academically in an academically high achieving school. However, he was surprised by how his fellow Arabs looked down upon him. They considered him a traitor when he stood the moment of silence for the fallen Israeli soldiers. After graduating from high school he went on to work in a glue factory and from their he would travel to America. Coming to America lost and alone he had no one else to turn to in order to help him, except for the local Israeli and Jewish community. Many of whom were well aware of his Bedouin identity. He would later major in political science with a masters. He served for two years in the Israeli border patrol. Later he would serve Israel diplomatically by defending Israel on college campuses across the United States.
Ishmael Khaldi ended up becoming the vice consul for Israel. In his short autobigoraphy, that sounds a bit like a propaganda piece for Israel, Ishmael Khaldi tells of his experiences defending Israel in front of a hostile leftist community in Berkley and apathetic Jewish community. During his stint though he made great friendships with Chabad and evangelical Christians.
Ishmael Khaldi feels strongly about his bedouin identity and his Israeli identity. He praises life in Israel and yet is ready to admit that things are not perfect. Much bridge building has to be done. Ishmael is quick to point out that cultural differences are the main factor.
Having been to Israel and seen things first hand I must say that most o what he says is correct. I think he does go out of his way to aggrandize Israel. His view in to the conflict also does not dig deep enough. He is right in saying that Israel is not apartheid yet there is discrimination. There are Israeli Arabs in high places of authority and Arab and Jewish worker do work side by side. Jews and Arabs ride the same bussess and live in the same apartment buildings. They also eat in the same restaurants. Yet I have met Israeli Bedouin who have been harrassed by local police, told to stand against the wall with their hands us while they are frisked and have their identities checked. Land is also confiscated from Arab villages leaving them no room to grow and accomodate their growing accomdations.
Ishmael Khaldi does have a vision for a brighter future. Using brotherhood and friendship is definitely the smarter way to resolved the situation then the use of condemnation and hate. This book gets a 4/5.
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