Ramadan begins in Israel amid tight security

Arab leaders in Israel urge citizens to celebrate modestly in private and not post pictures of lavish meals; security forces spread through Jerusalem and the West Bank to prevent violence, Palestinians suffer economic difficulty; 'Ramadan has come at the worst time'

Hassan Shaalan, Liran Tamari, Elisha Ben Kimon, Einav Halabi|
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on Monday but unlike past years, is not being celebrated with festivities amid the war in Gaza.
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Leaders in the Arab community in Israel have asked that food not be wasted and that pictures of banquets not be posted on social media platforms, in order to show support for Muslim families suffering from lack of food because of the war. Festivities should be held in private, they said.

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תגבור כוחות ביטחון לקראת הרמדאן בעיר העתיקה בירושלים
תגבור כוחות ביטחון לקראת הרמדאן בעיר העתיקה בירושלים
Security forces in the Old City of Jerusalem
(Photo: Amit Shabi)
Meanwhile hundreds of police officers, security forces and volunteers will be deployed to Jerusalem's Old City to allow worshippers to arrive to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and to prevent provocations.
Jerusalem police had already been preparing and practiced breaching Islam's third holiest site in case of violence, including a scenario of an officer being abducted into the compound and requiring rescue.
The force has been monitoring social media posts to identify instigators of violence and has removed some people found to be inciting riots from the capital.
"We understand that Ramadan this year is different and comes with threats and challenges," Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman said. "What will win is flexibility and our ability to react to a volatile situation."
On the West Bank, the IDF and security forces deployed troops and are maintaining a high state of alert. In addition to protection for Jewish settlements and major roads, forces also have been deployed along the Green Line and border crossings to prevent unsupervised and illegal entry to Israel.
This year security forces have been taking aggressive action against possible terror attacks because of the war in Gaza, and have thus far arrested 3,500 suspects, 1,500 of them with links to Hamas, since the war began. Hundreds of terrorists have been killed by Israeli troops and dozens arrested for incitement.
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חג הרמדאן ברמאללה
חג הרמדאן ברמאללה
Ramallah during Ramadan
(Photo: WAFA )
The war has had an effect on the West Bank, and many are suffering economically. "There are many fathers who cannot feed their children," Jamil Mohammed, who had worked for an Israeli building contractor before October 7, said. "I am unemployed, strapped for cash. Ramadan has come at the worst time, may God forgive me," he said.
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