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The Druze in Israel: First Druze Ambassador

(April 2012)

On April 22, 2012, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman appointed Naim Araidi, a Druze professor of Hebrew Literature, as Israel's next ambassador to New Zealand.

The appointment of Araidi, aged 62 and from Kfar Maghar, marks the first time that a member of the Druze community in Israel will be an official diplomat of the state. Araidi currently serves as dean of the Arab Academic College for Education, is a member of the Sapir Prize board, and gives regular classes at both Haifa and Bar Ilan universities. In 2008, Araidi won the Prime Minister's Award for Hebrew Literature.

"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," Araidi said during a press conference.

Sources: Ynet