Lapid phones Abdullah with holiday greetings, talks strengthening ties

Lapid and Abdullah said to discuss strengthening relations and regional issues.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Jordanian King Abdullah II on Saturday evening, ahead of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha and U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to the region.

According to a read-out of the call from Lapid’s office, the premier offered Abdullah holiday greetings and “conveyed his condolences on behalf of the Government of Israel on the tragic gas leak in Aqaba.

“Abdullah congratulated Prime Minister Lapid on taking office and wished him success.”

During the conversation, the two leaders discussed “the need to strengthen and deepen cooperation and relations between Israel and Jordan,” as well as Biden’s upcoming visit and “regional challenges and opportunities.”

Jordan recently participated in a clandestine security conference organized by the U.S. in Egypt, which aimed to unite Arab countries and Israel in an alliance against Iran.

Although Jordan and Israel have had a peace treaty since 1994, relations between the two countries have been strained in recent years.

During the Ramadan holiday in April 2022, Jordan demanded that Jewish pilgrims be banned from visiting the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

The flashpoint compound is also the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is officially administered by the Jordanian Waqf Islamic organization.

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Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh openly praised Temple Mount rioters who violently attacked Jews and Israeli security forces at the site. During a speech to the Jordanian parliament, Khasawneh said that he “saluted” Palestinians and Waqf employees who threw rocks, bottles, and other projectiles at the “Zionist sympathizers defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation government.”

Then-prime minister Naftali Bennett rebuked Khasawneh for his incendiary remarks.

On the heels of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Jordan softened its stance on Israel, even proposing that the two nations create a joint wheat reserve site in order to ensure food security for both countries.