The IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai wished Muslim citizens in Israel and across the world a Ramadan kareem, or blessed Ramadan, in a video message posted on the IDF YouTube account. The Israeli general spoke in Arabic with English subtitles throughout the video.
“I would like to wish Israel’s Muslim citizens and Muslims around the world a Ramadan kareem,” said Mordechai. Israeli workplaces formally recognize Ramadan as a religious holiday. Hundreds of Muslim soldiers, primarily Bedouins, who serve in the IDF are given special accommodations to pray and eat at the designated times while physical training exercises are cut down.
Mordechai gave a special address to Muslims soldiers in the IDF, wishing “may your fast be meaningful and may your Iftah meals be to your enjoyment.”
Ramadan, which began on July 10, is celebrated by more than one billion Muslims worldwide during which observers fast during the day and feast at night. This year, the lunar holiday requires 16 hours of fasting each day.
In Israel, about 1.5 million Israeli Arabs celebrate the holiday. An estimated one million Arabs from the Judea and Samaria will make their way to Jerusalem and the rest of Israel, with the majority participating in prayer services on the Temple Mount during the holiday.
Last year, one million Muslims made the trip. Israel’s defense establishment had noted then that due to the relative security stability in Judea and Samaria, extensive Ramadan accommodations were made. This year, despite the dramatic increase in terror attempts, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Civil Administration, have initiated even more wide-range measures to continue to facilitate the celebration of Ramadan for holiday observers.
According to the IDF, there is permit-free entry into Israel for Palestinians above the age of 60 and an extension of hours of operation at the crossings throughout the month-long holiday as well as extended family visitations, among other cooperative measures.
This year, the Israel public radio station known as Kol Israel also began broadcasting Ramadan fast times for Muslim observers following weather reports.
“The month of Ramadan reminds us all of the values of coexistence, patience, love and peace,” added Mordechai, saying that he hoped that the month would bring good tidings to the region’s people, and an end to the bloodshed on Israel’s northern border.
Watch Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai’s Ramadan greetings below: