In ‘Landmark Step,’ Druze Woman to Serve as Jewish Agency Envoy

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
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Gadeer Mreeh speaks at a Kahol Lavan event, last year.
Gadeer Mreeh speaks at a Kahol Lavan event, last year.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

The Jewish Agency announced on Tuesday the appointment of its first-ever Druze shaliach, or envoy.

Gadeer Mreeh, a former Knesset member from Kahol Lavan and later Yesh Atid – both centrist parties – will serve as a senior envoy to Washington D.C., working in close cooperation with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She is to join a team of 10 Jewish Agency envoys already stationed in the Greater Washington area. In a statement, the Jewish Agency said she would focus in her new role on Israel advocacy work on college campuses.

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Mreeh was the first Druze woman to serve in the Knesset. She was first elected in April 2019 as a representative of Kahol Lavan, which ran together with Yesh Atid in that election. When the parties split in May 2020, after Kahol Lavan opted to join the government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, Mreeh defected to oppositionist Yesh Atid. She was angry that Kahol Lavan, as part of its coalition agreement with Likud, had backed out of its past promises to amend the so-called nation-state law, widely perceived as discriminatory toward Israel’s Arab minority.

A resident of Daliyat al-Karmel, the largest Druze town in Israel, Mreeh announced her decision to retire from politics earlier this year. The 37-year-old mother of two boys was the first non-Jewish woman to anchor a Hebrew-language news broadcast in Israel.

In announcing the appointment, Jewish Agency Director-General Amira Ahronoviz described it as a “landmark step.”

The former lawmaker's "personal and profession journey make her a powerful embodiment of Israeli society’s diversity and complexity,” she said. “We are thrilled 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.”

In past years, the main job of the Jewish Agency envoy was to encourage Jewish immigration to Israel. In more recent years, it has focused on building bridges between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

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