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In holiday call with Herzog, US VP expresses solidarity with Israel amid terror wave

Kamala Harris sends condolences, condemns attacks on Israelis, lauds steps taken by Jerusalem to ease restrictions on Palestinians over Ramadan

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

President Isaac Herzog and US Vice President Kamala Harris. (Collage/AP)
President Isaac Herzog and US Vice President Kamala Harris. (Collage/AP)

US Vice President Kamala Harris, in a Thursday phone call with President Isaac Herzog, expressed her solidarity with Israel amid the recent terror wave and thanked Jerusalem for the steps it has taken to reduce tensions with the Palestinians.

Harris extended Passover greetings, offered her condolences for the 14 people killed in four separate attacks over the past three and a half weeks, and expressed the Biden administration’s “unwavering” support and solidarity with the State of Israel, according to the US readout.

“The Vice President expressed support for continued efforts to reduce tensions,” the statement said.

The Israeli readout said Harris “expressed her support for steps taken by Israel during the month of Ramadan and its efforts to confront the wave of terrorism.”

The two appeared to be referring to steps taken by Israel to ease Palestinians’ heavily restricted freedom of movement during the Muslim holy month, including allowing children, women, and some men entry from the West Bank without permits in order to pray in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque.

Alongside those measures, the IDF has stepped up its operations in the West Bank, primarily in the Jenin area, which has been identified as the main source of the recent terror wave. Fifteen Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli troops in West Bank clashes since the start of April.

Since early this year, the White House identified the confluence of Passover, Ramadan, and Easter this April as a recipe for possible violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Washington has been pushing Jerusalem to take steps to ease tensions in order to avoid an escalation similar to the Gaza war that took place at the end of Ramadan last year.

Herzog thanked Harris for her well-wishes, “noting that it is especially significant and important coming from the State of Israel’s greatest ally,” the president’s office said.

Harris shared with Herzog that the Vice President’s Residence will be hosting a traditional Seder for the first time later on Friday evening. In addition, Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish will be hosting a virtual seder that is open to the public on Thursday evening. Harris and Emhoff will be offering remarks and recorded remarks from US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will also be played.

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