Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh, the first female Druze member of Israel’s legislature, is going to Washington, DC, as a senior shlicha (Israeli emissary) on behalf of The Jewish Agency for Israel.

Kamal-Mreeh will also support Israel engagement efforts on North American college campuses.

The groundbreaking appointment of the first Druze senior shlicha to represent The Jewish Agency was coordinated jointly with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Kamal-Mreeh will join more than 2,000 Israeli emissaries stationed in more than 60 countries, including 10 already working in the Greater Washington region, working to strengthen local connections to Israel and facilitate Jewish social activism.

“Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh’s personal and professional journey make her a powerful embodiment of Israeli society’s diversity and complexity,” said Amira Ahronoviz, The Jewish Agency’s Director General and CEO.

She added that “this unprecedented appointment will bring greater awareness regarding that diverse landscape to the United States as part of our efforts to strengthen understanding of Israel worldwide.”

The Druze of northern Israel are a tiny religious and ethnic minority. Neither Muslim nor Christian, they comprise just 145,000 of the country’s 1.95 million Arab citizens. Yet Druze Israelis are well represented at senior levels in academia, politics, the military, science, medicine, arts, sports and business.

Kamal-Mreeh has a degree from Bar Ilan University in medical Imaging and social sciences and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Haifa.

She hosted an Israeli Broadcasting Corporation program in Arabic focusing on social and cultural issues of Arab youth in Israel and in 2015 was chosen to host the IBC’s daily newscast in Arabic. In 2017, she began anchoring its main (Hebrew) Saturday evening newscast, as well as a nightly newscast.

Kamal-Mreeh became a Member of Knesset in April 2019, where she served until April 2021. During her tenure she chaired the Israel-Switzerland parliamentary friendship group and co-chaired the Israel-Germany friendship group.

She was a member of the Interior and Environment committees, the Advancement of Women’s Status and Gender Equality Committee, and of the special committee for fighting crime within the Arab sector. She also chaired the Caucus for Planning, Zoning and Industrial Areas, and the Caucus for the Advancement of Druze Women.

“I’m proud and excited to be a partner in bringing about this precedent-setting step which will enable another Israeli voice to be heard, conveying the multifaceted reality of Israel to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences throughout North America,” said Kamal-Mreeh.

“I believe the time has come for all segments of Israeli society to be active partners in shaping global consciousness and that my unique identity as a woman from the Druze community will greatly contribute to my service – resulting in meaningful and innovative activities that will challenge and change perceptions. In the name of pluralism and diversity, we will work to connect, bridge and emphasize what we have in common, for our country and for our future.”

Along with The Jewish Agency’s network of Israel Campus Fellows, in cooperation with Hillel International, Kamal-Mreeh will help train and provide support to campus advocates.

With a specific focus on 18- to 35-year-old Jews, Kamal-Mreeh also will work to create and deepen communal connections across synagogues, Jewish community centers, Jewish federations and other American institutions, as well as The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

Gil Preuss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, said the Greater Washington community “will benefit from her expertise, background and ability to deepen our connections with Israel and Israelis.”