Netanyahu in Passover message: Israel now admired by ‘the Arab and Muslim world’
In video marking festival of freedom, prime minister says he’s ‘persistently and systematically turning Israel into a rising global power’
By TOI STAFF. April 19, 2019. 12:37 pm
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted what he said were burgeoning ties between Israel and the Arab and Muslim world Friday in a Passover video he released on his social media platforms hours before the start of the Jewish festival.
“Citizens of Israel, Jewish brothers and sisters around the world. Each year on Seder night, I am deeply moved. Passover touches upon the roots of our national identity. Thousands of years ago we raised the banner of freedom and liberty,” he said of the Jewish festival that celebrates the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt.
“We went from slavery to freedom, from subjugation to independence. We began our long journey from Egypt to our home — Zion and Jerusalem,” he said in the Hebrew clip.
Presenting the Jewish state’s “incredible achievements by any standard,” Netanyahu said that he is “persistently and systematically turning Israel into a rising global power. Specifically, “a country admired by many other countries, including in the Arab and Muslim world.”
Netanyahu has made diplomatic outreach to Africa, Latin America and the Far East a cornerstone of his foreign policy, and has pushed for more open ties with moderate Arab states.
Israel has formal relations only with Egypt and Jordan, but its relations with some Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, indeed appear to have recently warmed as part of a tacit alliance against Iran.
In October, Netanyahu was welcomed to Oman by the country’s longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said. That same month Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev traveled to Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament, and the Israeli national anthem was played for the first time in the Arabian peninsula after Sagi Muki won gold in the under-81 kilogram category.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians feel increasingly sidelined, fearing Israel, Gulf states and the US plan to strike a deal behind their backs about the future of lands they seek for a future state.
Passover, which lasts seven days, begins on Friday night when Jews around the world mark the festival with the seder holiday feast.