Some 100,000 worshippers gathered at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque complex on Tuesday for mass prayer, marking the start of Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, after last year's celebrations werescaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-day festivities are derived from the Quran and honor the willingness of Abraham — the venerated patriarch of the three major eponymous faiths — to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God's command. The holiday is characterized by prayers, parades, giving charity and family meals.
During the religious gathering, the crowd began chanting "we shall sacrifice our lives for Al-Aqsa".
Some parishioners also hung a large banner in support of Hamas saying, "we are the Mohammed Deif's men", referring to the shadowy leader of the terror outfit's military wing, and "the sword of Jerusalem will free the prisoners."
Worshippers are expected to flock the streets and commercial centers of Arab communities nationwide toward the evening hours to buy gifts, sweets, clothes and more for the holiday. Thousands flocked to a particularly bustling Nazareth to enjoy the holiday spirit and shop for goods at a bargain price.
President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and wished him a happy holiday.
Gantz's office released a statement saying, "the two had a positive conversation and raised the need to promote trust-building steps between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will help the security and prosperity of the entire region."
The defense minister also published a video in which he commended joint efforts by Israelis and Palestinians alike to curb the pandemic.