“If you had hatred of Muslims you would not host us,” said French Imam Hassen Chalghoumi to his IDF officer hosts on the roof of HaKirya [IDF HQ] in Tel Aviv in a video released on social media by the IDF on Tuesday. IDF spokesperson Ronen Manelis placed the video on Facebook with a text saying “a year ago when I met Imam Hassen Chalghoumi in France I promised him that I will host him here in Israel.”
The fellow officer to meet the Imam on the roof was head of the Arabic media division of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit Avichay Adraee.
“With this strength you will face the evil that is hurting Arab countries,” Chalghoumi told his hosts, “Inshallah you will be a reason for stability in the region.”
Arab users were not so welcoming of the opinions expressed by Chalghoumi and posted images of Saddam Hussein beaming, perhaps trying to allude to the latter’s propaganda machine.
Chalghoumi came with a delegation of Muslim leaders and activists who were amazed during their stay in the Jewish State that Arabs move freely and integrate into mainstream Israel.
When they met President Reuven Rivlin one young woman from Belgium admitted to Rivlin that before coming to Israel, she had been a strong proponent for BDS.
She had heard and read that Palestinians suffered terribly at the hands of Israelis and that there was violence and terror everywhere.
She was astounded to learn that the opposite is true and that Israel respects human rights.
Initially, she was astonished to see Arabs mingling freely in the streets with Israeli Jews.
She will be returning home with a completely different impression of Israel, and now believes in Israel’s right to exist, she said.