Rasha Atamny

Rasha Atamny will serve at Israel’s embassy in Turkey as its first-ever female Arab diplomat.

Rasha Atamny, a 31-year-old female Arab from the small Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiya in northern Israel, has been appointed Israel’s first secretary at its Turkish embassy in Ankara, the first time the Jewish state has sent a Muslim woman to represent it abroad.

Atamny will serve in a senior post at a mission responsible for one of the country’s most fragile relationships. Israel and Turkey have recently reconciled after six years of diplomatic animosity.

Atamny studied psychology at Hebrew University before  joining the prestigious three-year Foreign Ministry cadet course alongside 21 other cadets.

In a blog written while she was still completing her course, Atamny said her decision to become a diplomat came from a three-month internship at the Israeli mission at the UN.

“One turning point will always stay with me: one day, I sat down in my usual seat in the human rights committee, and listened with great interest to a discussion taking place on women’s rights violations,” Atamny wrote in Hebrew.

“At this point, I had gotten used to the continuous barrage of accusations leveled against Israel by many countries on the council… The discrimination against Israel in the UN is very obvious and disappointing. But this time it was different. This time I listened to speeches by Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all decrying the ‘systematic women’s rights violations’ by Israel, while I, an Arab, Muslim Palestinian origin, represent Israel at the UN Human Rights Council.”

“That day at the UN made me desperately disappointed and pushed me to take matters into my own hands, to try and at least object in thought to the systemic conduct carried out in the international arena against Israel.”

Atamny’s Twitter account also has a pro-Israel tone, attacking supporters of the anti-Israel BDS campaign, which she says is about “eliminating Israel.”

Israel has previously appointed Christians and male Muslims to foreign roles, as well as female Muslims to Foreign Ministry jobs inside the country, but never abroad.

By: United with Israel Staff

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