Netanyahu Mentions Islamic Extremism in Ramadan Greetings

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a videotaped greeting to Israel's Muslim citizens on Thursday, in time for the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Speaking in front of a background of the flag of Israel, and a bookshelf with a family picture and classical Jewish religious texts such as the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch, Netanyahu wished Muslims "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."

Addressing the Muslim citizens of Israel, he pledged, "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," he said, still addressing Muslim citizens.

The prime minister concluded in Arabic saying "kol a'am wa antom bekhair," meaning "I wish you goodness every year."

Despite the message, the overwhelming majority of comments to the video message on YouTube were negative and employed offensive language.

Netanyahu's greetings come as Israel is making "historic" concessions to Muslim populations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in allowing direct access to the Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism – for Ramadan, along with unprecedented freedom of movement.

Jerusalem is ramping up massive and expensive projects to improve the aesthetic experience of Muslim visitors, as 150,000 to 200,000 Muslims are expected to visit the Temple Mount every Friday of the month.


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