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Ishmael Khaldi

Bedouin Diplomat Speaking for Israel

August 2004

Israeli Bedouin Ishmael Khaldi made a historic visit to Australia as a guest of AICE in August. An intense, whirlwind visit to Melbourne and Sydney resulted in a broad range of people being exposed to his experiences and views as a ‘proud Muslim Arab Israeli’.

Positive, lively debates and in-depth discussions about the cultural and political diversity of the State of Israel were the trademark of the visit, epitomised by Khaldi’s final meeting in Australia – with Bob Carr, Premier of NSW. (‘I paid tribute to AICE for organising Mr Khaldi’s visit. It is re-assuring to meet someone with a strong and clear commitment to achieving peace in the Middle East.’ stated the Premier following the meeting). Prior to this meeting, students at the universities of Melbourne and Sydney, the Tranby College for Indigenous and Aboriginal Students , schools and colleges all heard of Khaldi being ‘an Israeli first and foremost’. Politicians and guests at JCCV, JNF and Interfaith events heard of Khaldi, as a Bedouin and being from a culture ‘of the wind’, was not in conflict with his Arab and Muslim heritage by being an Israeli.

AICE Chairman Albert Dadon said 'Ishmael has brought to Australia a message of hope for the Middle East, one that is rarely heard in Australia. Most people who never met a Bedouin did not know what to expect. Ishmael was able to build bridges with Australian Jews, Muslims, Aboriginals and Christians. The fruit of the visit will be felt in many months to come.'

Democracy, co-existence and tolerance: the underpinning values Khaldi promoted in the greater understanding of the culture of contemporary Israel.

Saturday 31 July Melbourne
Sunday 1 August Press Interview
  Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) Event,
  Monash University
Monday 2 August Mount Scopus College
  Bialik College
  AUJS, La Trobe University
  King David College
  Parliamentary Friends of Israel, Parliament House
Tuesday 3 August Jewish Nat ional Fund Gold Patrons Breakfast
  Monash University - History Faculty
  Young Businessmen Lunch
  University of Melbourne
Wednesday 4 August Sydney
  Tranby College
  Moriah College
Thursday 5 August Masada College
  University of Sydney
  Press Interview
Friday 6 August University of NSW
  Interfaith Group Discussion
  Premier Bob Carr
Saturday 7 August Depart Sydney