U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain traveled to Israel and Judea and Samaria, Israel on April 13-18 to meet with government and civil society leaders as well as representatives of faith communities during the convergence of Ramadan, Passover, and Easter. **
Ambassador Hussain and Special Representative for Arab Affairs Hady Amr met with senior officials in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior regarding the right to freedom of religion or belief for all. They met with the Director General of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib to discuss developments during Ramadan and reiterated to all the U.S. commitment to preserving the historic status quo in Jerusalem.
Ambassador Hussain and Special Representative Amr attended Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque, the Holy Fire Ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before Orthodox Easter and visited the Western Wall and met with Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz.
Ambassador Hussein reiterated U.S. support for the implementation of the 2016 agreement to expand the egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel.
Ambassador Hussain further met with civil society leaders of all three Abrahamic faiths to hear their perspectives on the current climate in Jerusalem, Israel, and Judea and Samaria for religious freedom and tolerance as well as each group’s unique challenges to practice freely.
He then traveled to Bethlehem, Israel to visit the Church of the Nativity and the Mosque of Omar. Ambassador Hussain discussed the vital educational and social role of the Bethlehem Bible College in the Bethlehem community with college President Reverend Dr. Jack Sara.
Finally, Ambassador Hussain spoke with the Armenian, Greek, and Latin Patriarchs of Jerusalem about the situation of Christians in the region and the vital importance of preserving and protecting Jerusalem’s religious diversity. **
** Editor's Note: Multiculturalism, so-called 'Interfaith', and the existence of any form of idolatry in Israel are antithetical to Judaism. Referring to "They shall not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me; for you will serve their gods—and it will prove a snare to you." this appears quite unambiguous.