Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Year Resolutions??

Following the New Year holiday, the news broke about an Israeli overflight of Syrian territory with the usual condemnations by Syria and then North Korea. For once the Israeli press was tight lipped (most unusual) and it seems prepared to adopt the line of the government of non disclosure.

In a country where everyone has a relative or knows someone who has access to information, it is rather rare to find such self control in censorship. The fact that, apart from Syria and North Korea, no European or Arab country has condemned the action suggests that whatever action was taken over Syrian territory, it met with general approval. Of course there is conjecture by many of the overseas media outlets but since Sky News felt it more important to take a "flesh look" at Israel on TV and on its website. http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-1284368,00.html , it is an indication of their priorities!

Meanwhile, Sunday was a fast day for Jews (it needed to be after all the food eaten over the New Year holiday) and, of course in the middle of Ramadan. It was reported that members of the government hosted an Iftar dinner on Sunday evening (16 Sept) at the King David Hotel to break the day's fast. Forty guests participated, among them Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Information Minister Riad al-Maliki, Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed Assem Ibrahim Mohamed, Jordanian Ambassador Ali al-Ayed, and Mauritanian Ambassador Ahmed Ould Teguedi. Other guests included Israeli public figures and Muslim and Druze mayors and council heads.

Foreign Minister Livni welcomed the guests and commented that the evening's significance went beyond merely breaking the Muslim fast of Ramadan and the Jewish Fast of Gedaliah. The event, she stated, symbolized co-existence and common values based on the belief that joint efforts can bring peace.

Livni added that the religious tolerance demonstrated by Jews, Muslims and Christians sitting and eating together emphasizes the need to denounce the extremists who misuse religion in order to spread their radical ideology.

At the dinner, speeches were also delivered by the Palestinian prime minister, the Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors and some of the Israeli leaders.

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