Netanyahu meets leader of 60 million Muslims

At AJC Global Forum 2018 in Israel, Yahya Cholil Staquf, who, as General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council and

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Gary Willig,

PM Netanyahu & Yahya Cholil Staquf
PM Netanyahu & Yahya Cholil Staquf
Haim Zach (GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Thursday with the leader of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization.

The prime minister met with Yahya Staquf, the Secretary General of Nahdlatul Ulama, which has 60 million members. Staquf is visiting Israel at the invitation of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

While Staquf, an advocate for religious coexistence, has met with several religious leaders during his stay in Israel, his meeting with Netanyahu was not listed on his itinerary.

Netanyahu spoke of Israel's growing relations with Muslim countries. He said that Arab and Muslims nations sought closer relations with Israel out of security concerns over Iran and ISIS and to benefit from Israeli technology

"Israel is the innovation nation, and I’m very happy to see that the Arab countries and many Muslim countries getting closer to Israel. I hope that we have some movement with Indonesia," Netanyahu said.

Indonesia, the largest Muslim majority country in the world, does not currently have diplomatic relations with Israel. Indonesia recently revoked tourist visas for Israelis in protest against Israel's response to the violence on the Gaza border.

Staquf's visit to Israel has provoked anger in Indonesia, especially on Indonesian social media. However, Staquf remained committed to his visit.

“Some people here are amazed by my decision to come, because they think it must be dangerous for this man to come, thinking that many, many Muslims must be threatening him with death or something,” Staquf told the Associated Press.

Statuf spoke at the AJC conference in Jerusalem this week. He called for “a new discourse” in which Muslims and non-Muslims would be recognized as equals.








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