Israeli leaders send holiday greetings to Muslims on eve of Eid al-Fitr
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Israeli leaders send holiday greetings to Muslims on eve of Eid al-Fitr

President lauds Arab and Muslim leadership in Israel for contributing to containment of virus, thereby helping safeguard all citizens; Gantz, Ashkenazi also send holiday wishes

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Palestinian women prepare traditional cookies ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festivities, celebrating the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2019. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
Palestinian women prepare traditional cookies ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festivities, celebrating the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2019. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Israel’s leaders sent holiday greetings to the country’s Muslim citizens on the eve of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which begins Sunday and marks a close of the holy month of Ramadan.

President Reuven Rivlin took the opportunity in his video statement to laud the country’s Arab-Muslim leadership “who contributed to the containing of the virus and caring for health and safety of all Israelis, Jews and Arabs, Jews and Muslims alike.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz lauded Muslim citizens for refraining from holding mass prayer services throughout the month of Ramadan. “To our delight, this collective responsibility bore fruit,” he wrote on Twitter.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi tweeted, “on this festive occasion of Eid-al-Fitr, I wish all Muslims, in Israel and worldwide, a blessed and peaceful holiday.”

As of late Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had yet to extend holiday greetings to the country’s Muslim population.

On Wednesday, Knesset speaker Yariv Levin wished Muslims a happy eid from the plenum, doing so in fluent Arabic.

In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wished a happy eid to Palestinians at home and abroad, saying he hoped the coming year would bring about the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

A PA-instituted closure of Palestinian areas in the West Bank went into effect on Saturday night and will extend until Monday evening.

“All public and private facilities were shut down, with the exception of pharmacies and bakeries which people can only arrive at on foot,” the Wafa official Palestinian news site reported.

In the Gaza Strip, guidelines put in place by Hamas will bar public gatherings at parks, beaches, cafes and event halls.

While the Temple Mount compound will remain closed during the holiday, the Islamic Waqf announced last week that it will reopen the holy site at the close of Eid al-Fitr on Tuesday, two months after shuttering it due to the coronavirus.

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