Speaker Edelstein meets with delegation of African Muslim religious leaders; says ”It is our duty to keep the holy places accessible to all those who visit the country”

(Photo: Itzik Harari)

Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein met in his office on Monday with a group of imams and other senior Muslim religious leaders from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia. Edelstein mentioned the recent launch of the Knesset Caucus for Israel-Africa Relations, during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed his commitment to strengthening Israel`s ties with African countries.

”You will see with your own eyes the lives of minorities in this country, including the lives of religious minorities,” the Knesset Speaker told the African religious leaders. ”We have a heavy burden on our shoulders, because, as you know, this land is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, and we have people coming to Israel who want to visit the different sites, some because of their religious affiliation, and some because of the natural curiosity of tourists, and it is our duty to keep the holy places open and reachable to all those who visit the country.”

Speaker Edelstein meets with delegation of African Muslim religious leaders; says ”It is our duty to keep the holy places accessible to all those who visit the country”

(Photo: Itzik Harari)

Edelstein said Israel was ”heavily involved” in humanitarian initiatives in Africa, noting that the Foreign Ministry ”invests a lot in cooperation [with Africa], particularly in the fields of agriculture and technology, in order to promote Israeli know-how in different countries.”

In this regard, the Speaker told the African Muslim religious leaders that one of the principles of Judaism is Tikkun Olam (”repairing the world”). ”This is something that we are always trying to promote, because we cannot really claim that we are good Jews and that we are carrying out our task if we do not get involved in making the world better,” he said. ”If, in this country, we have been blessed with knowledge in the fields of innovation, agriculture, science and medicine, then we have to share it with countries around the world.”