The president of Israel on Monday hosted Muslim leaders and diplomats for a traditional Iftar meal, which breaks the fast at the end of each day during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
The ambassadors to Israel from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Kazakhstan all attended the meal at the President’s Residence, along with the heads of Qadis (Shariʿa court judges), representatives of the IDF, Police and Prison Services, and leading figures in Israeli industry, academia, and medicine.
President Reuven Rivlin welcomed his guests and said in Arabic: “It is an honour to host you today, at your house, the President’s House.”
Speaking about the event, Rivlin said: “For all Muslim communities across the world, Ramadan is a symbol of the same base values, of unparalleled importance: family and community, charity and care for the weak, spiritual reflection, and soul searching.”
He also took the opportunity to reflect on the recent spate of violence which has taken place in Arab-Israeli towns. He said he was “pained by this severe distress” and added that “the security and wellbeing of the public must be our key focus. The right of young men and women, to learn and flourish, the right of all our children to grow in safety.”
The president also celebrated Israel’s achievements in addressing the issues surrounding Arab and Jewish cooperation in civil society, calling the “partnership” between Arabs and Jews “stronger than any evil wind which may wish to uproot it.”
He added: “This is our duty, this is the mission of our generation – to ensure for our grandchildren a future in which it is understood that we are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together.”
In response, president of the Shariya Court of Appeals, Sheikh Abed Alhakim Samara said: “We as citizens feel that our personal safety is completely abandoned. Crime organizations are taking over our lives.”
Chairman of the Arab Regional Council Heads and Mayor of Sakhnin, Mazen Ganim added that “our hands are straining to reign in the illegal weapons” and called the problem “a malignant cancer.”