IDF soldiers in the West Bank have been asked to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public, particularly at the security crossings, during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins Wednesday.

Soldiers have been asked to “demonstrate a high level of respect and understanding,” the IDF said, in a statement it released Tuesday.

In advance of the holy month, “Civil Administration representatives met with Palestinian religious authorities and discussed prayer times and upcoming religious events, in addition to informing the population of the accommodations being made,” the IDF said.

West Bank security forces were also updated on Ramadan timetables and traditions.

For Ramadan and the holiday of Id el-Fitr that follows, the IDF extended until midnight the operating hours of both the Jalama and Rehan crossings to Jenin, the Beit Mishpat crossing to Ramallah and the Rachel crossing to Bethlehem.

Palestinian families can visit relatives in Israel during the month and Israeli Arabs can enter Area A.

Some 200 permits were given to visitors from Arab countries to enter Judea and Samaria for humanitarian reasons.

In Jerusalem, Palestinian men over the age of 50 and women over the age of 45 will be able to freely enter the Temple Mount for prayer. Married men between the ages of 45-50 and married women between the ages of 30-45 may also enter the compound.



The Samaria Citizens’ Committee criticized the IDF preparations for Ramadan, saying it regretted that Israel’s army was paying more consideration to Islam than to Judaism.

These measures come as the IDF and the Border Police are arresting rabbis, destroying synagogues and issuing demolition orders against West Bank yeshivot, the committee said in a statement.

“Is the defense minister’s name, Ehud Barak or Ahmed Barak?” it asked.

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