Israeli president Shimon Peres hosted a special gala dinner at the presidential residence to celebrate the breaking of the Ramadan fast. Among the guests were local Muslim leader and diplomats.
The Israeli presidential residence in Jerusalem came alive these week with a special gala event, commemorating the breaking of the Ramadan fast and hosted by President Shimon Peres.
The dinner was a special event, hosting some of the most important Muslim leaders in Israel. It included several Imams and Qadis, Arab members of Knesset, business people, academics and local authority figures, in addition to members of the diplomatic staffs of Jordan and Egypt. The residence, located on Jerusalem's Rechov Hanassi (President's Street), came alive with the scents of traditional Arab and Middle Eastern cuisine, as the guests gathered to celebrate the ending of the Ramadan fast.
President Peres spoke of the Israeli commitment towards its Muslim population, as well as the ongoing importance of the peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt. He also related positively to the peace negotiations which are due to commence in the coming weeks with the Palestinians, and he voiced his hope for a positive outcome and a bright future in the region.
The end of Ramadan feast at the presidential residence is an annual tradition, and it joins a host of other elaborate events which take place at the residence continuously. Reaching out to various segments of the population, President Peres attempts to encompass the wide range of Israeli cultures, and his diverse staff are constantly looking for ways to make his presidency more inclusive.
The Ramadan fast, a month long period of atonement, prayer and meditation, requires Muslim believers to fast from sunrise to sunset on every day. Participating in daily prayers and giving generously to charity, they end the day in a fast-breaking feast, usually in intimate groups of family and friends. On the final day of Ramadan, the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, is a day of celebration and marks the beginning of the following month, Shawwal. Following 30 days of fasting, it is a festive day celebrated across the Muslim world by every Islamic believer.
Ramadan is widely observed in Jerusalem and across the State of Israel and the West Bank. As such, President Peres was reaching out to his constituents of Islamic descent, making them feel welcome under his presidency.
The dinner was generally well received by the Arab population, most of whom support President Peres and his strive for a regional peace resolution. The ceremonial dinner and speeches were elaborate and beautifully catered, and were widely reported in Israeli and foreign press.
As the month of Ramadan draws to a close, Jerusalem's presidential residence joins numerous other locations in the city, commemorating this ancient tradition in modern times.