The Islamic world is marking the month of Ramadan even as the Middle East burns in the wake of civil wars and religious wars between Sunnis and Shi’ites. Israel will continue to be an island of security and stability in the stormy sea around us.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Ramadan greetings:
"To Israel’s Muslim citizens, I am pleased to convey my greetings on the start of Ramadan – Ramadan kareem.
I wish you all the good in the world. This year as well we know that the world is not all good. The Islamic world is marking the month of Ramadan even as the Middle East burns in the wake of civil wars and religious wars between Sunnis and Shi’ites.
Our Muslim citizens, Israel will continue to be an island of security and stability in the stormy sea around us, in which extremist Islamic elements murder each other and members of other faiths.
Israel is the only state in the region that respects freedom of religion and freedom of worship for believers of all faiths, and you know this better than anyone. You are an inseparable part of Israeli society.
Kol a’am wa antom bekhair – I wish you goodness every year."
The Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT) announced the easing of restrictions for Palestinians in honor of the Ramadan holiday:
Male residents of the West Bank over the age of 40 and women of any age will be able to attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Buses from Ramallah and Bethlehem will transport the worshippers directly to Jerusalem after a brief inspection.
West Bank residents can also enter Israel to visit relatives during the holiday.
500 West Bank residents will be permitted to fly abroad via Ben-Gurion Airport. 650 Palestinians residing overseas have been granted visas to Israel to visit relatives living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the month of Ramadan.
Some 50 Palestinian journalists from national media outlets that do not engage in incitement were granted entry permits to Israel to cover Ramadan events.
Israel has also approved hundreds of travel requests by Palestinians seeking to make the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca who will travel via the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan.
For Palestinian residents of Gaza, the number of people permitted to attend prayers on the Temple Mount will be increased, and the minimum age will be lowered from 60 to 50. Some Gaza residents who wish to visit relatives in the West Bank will be allowed to do so.
Thousands of people make their way to the Temple Mount for first Friday prayers of Ramadan (June 19) – Israel Police Spokesperson
Update – June 21
Following the fatal attack on Friday, June 19, in which Danny Gonen was killed, and the critical stabbing of an Israeli Border Police officer near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem (June 21), where tens of thousands of Muslims have passed to celebrate Ramadan, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister revoked the 500 permits for West Bank residents to travel abroad via Ben Gurion Airport, and cancelled entry visits to Israel from the village of Sair, home to the perpetrator of the stabbing attack in Jerusalem.