At a time when the Israeli army forces prepared to raid the Jenin refugee camp to the north of the West Bank, killing three civilians including a 14-year old boy, Israeli President Isaac Herzog hosted an official Ramadan Iftar banquet at his presidential residence in Jerusalem, inviting Palestinian and Arab politicians, religious figures, and diplomats.
The festive event meant to share the main daily mail consumed by fasting Muslims during Ramadan welcomed around 200 people and featured a speech by the Israeli President Isaac Herzog who acknowledged Ramadan as one of the many religious celebrations taking place around this time of year, besides Jewish Passover and Christian Easter.
President Herzog speaks about the dangers of fake news at Iftar meal— Ittay Flescher (@ittay78) April 14, 2022
“In recent days, mendacious reports have been circulating about the Temple Mount and the holy sites. I want to take this opportunity to say: these are lies. Israel maintains the status quo on the Temple Mount.” pic.twitter.com/sa0UOqE454
Herzog delivered a speech in Hebrew to the room that included ambassadors of Egypt Khaled Azmi, Jordan's Ghassan Majali, UAE's Mohamed Al Khaja, Bahrain's Khaled Al Jalahma, and the head of Morocco's liaison office in Israel Abdel Rahim al-Bayoud.
The event was also attended by the leader of the coalition’s Islamist Ra’am party, Mansour Abbas, who has been the first Palestinian-Israeli leader to join an Israeli government.
In his speech, Herzog quoted the Muslim holy book Quran, praised the month of Ramadan, and stressed the need for "tolerance".
A heartfelt thank you to President @Isaac_Herzog for hosting me for Iftar at the presidential home. Uplifting to see Muslim, Jewish and Christian citizens of Israel join together for Iftar in brotherhood and solidarity during the holy month of #Ramadan. pic.twitter.com/lnBbCPPAil— Mohamed Al Khaja (@AmbAlKhaja) April 13, 2022
He then elaborated on the ongoing escalations between Palestinians and Israel, after several deadly Palestinian attacks against Israelis in recent weeks, and growing Israeli raids and shootings in cities of the occupied West bank.
However, Herzog's remarks dismissed the lives of at least seven Palestinians killed since Sunday, including a 14-year-old boy killed at the same time the Iftar was taking place.
Israel's President #Herzog hosts #Iftar meal at his official residence, taking the opportunity to note that Israel is 'preserving the status quo' around Jerusalem's religious sites, @BaligSladeen reports. pic.twitter.com/MKFGnbzzGP— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) April 13, 2022
The Israeli President focused instead on condemning what he described as the "current wave of terrorism in Israel", saying "when murders and acts of violence are committed in the name of Islam, we must not remain silent".
On Wednesday evening, Palestinian health sources reported the names of three new civilians killed by Israeli soldiers across the West Bank.
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