In first, Israel sends Egypt Ramadan greetings

Israeli leaders deliver holiday wishes to Muslims at home and abroad as holy month kicks off

In an unprecedented move, Israel’s ambassador in Cairo on Friday broadcast a YouTube video wishing Egyptians a Happy Ramadan.

Ambassador Haim Cohen’s message was the first of its kind in the 36 years of bilateral relations, Army Radio reported.

“On my behalf and that of the people of Israel ahead of the blessed month of Ramadan, we wish the Egyptian people a ‘Ramadan Kareem,'” the ambassador said, using the traditional Arabic salutation for the Muslim holy month.

Israel and Egypt established formal relations in 1980 following the signing of the Camp David Accords the year before. However, while formal diplomatic ties have held, public sentiment in Egypt is considerably less cordial.

Last week, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended good wishes to Israeli Muslims ahead of the annual Islamic holy month.

“Israel is the only state in the region that respects the freedom of religion and worship for members of all faiths,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “You are an inseparable part of Israel.”

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, is marked by obligatory fasting during daylight hours for adult Muslims. It is also a time of religious reflection, charity and prayer.

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