Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended holiday greetings on Sunday to Israel’s Muslim and Druze citizens, in advance of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha.
“On the occasion of the Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, I am happy to extend holiday greetings to our Muslim and Druze citizens — Kol a’am wa antom bekhair,” he said. “On the holiday we cherish values that the Jewish faith also sanctifies: Fear of Heaven, family and helping one’s fellow.
“This is an additional example of the many things that unite us in our lives together in the State of Israel.”
The festival marks the willingness of Ishmael, the firstborn son of the Biblical patriarch Abraham – known to Muslims as Ibrahim – to be sacrificed to Allah, who appeared to his father in a dream and commanded him to sacrifice his son.
To this very day, Muslims set aside the finest lamb in the flock from birth, raising it to adulthood for the purpose of sacrifice for the feast of Eid al-Adha. Those who have no flock are enjoined to purchase a sheep or if money is scarce, then at least, a fine kid or goat for the ceremonial slaughter.
Up to one million sheep and goats have been held in three quarantine stations outside the ancient Red Sea port town of Berbera, in Somaliland, having been shipped from markets around the Horn of Africa over the past several weeks across the Gulf of Aden to Saudi Arabia.
They are all destined for ceremonial slaughter during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, and the Eid al-Adha celebrations to be held there on September 12.
The holiday marks an event referred to by the Jewish faith as the “Akeida” but which is precisely the mirror opposite in its details: Jews are taught that the younger son, Isaac, went with his father that day, and it was his life that was later spared when God’s Messenger Angel stayed Abraham’s hand as he raised it with the knife.