Arab Israeli Defies the Odds

Given widespread negative perceptions of the relationship between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East, most people would think it impossible for an Arab Israeli to become a senior diplomat for the country. And that is what people said to George Deek when he wanted to join Israel’s diplomatic corps at the age of 25.

“There’s no way they’re going to accept an Arab, and one who never went to the army.”

But having spotted a relevant job advertisement, he went ahead and applied with the result that he joined Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008.

He served as deputy chief of Israel’s mission to Nigeria from 2009-2012, and then as Deputy Ambassador to Norway from 2012-2015, serving as acting Ambassador during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.

Now, for the first time as an Arab Christian diplomat, he has been appointed to the position of ambassador – Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan. Indeed, the newly appointed ambassador was born to a Christian Arab family in Jaffa, and is the only Christian in Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Whilst serving as acting Ambassador in Norway during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, George Deek organized and managed a successful state visit by Israel’s president Shimon Peres, a visit which gained him many accolades, including the ministry`s outstanding employee award for that year.

A speech he made that year went viral in video form and was described by some as the best speech given by an Israeli diplomat. It’s worth hearing.

George Deek`s 2014 speech in Oslo.