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.
security forces were also updated on Ramadan timetables and
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
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
army was paying more consideration to Islam than to Judaism.
measures come as the IDF and the Border Police are arresting rabbis,
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.