Days after a delegation of Pakistani-Americans visited Israel on a trip that sparked outrage at home, the country’s president said he met with the group but refused to release the participants’ identities.
The 15-member team, which included Pakistan Television (PTV) anchor Ahmed Quraishi and Pakistan-Israeli rabbi Fischel BenKhald, was organised by two civil society organisations and was in Jerusalem to promote interfaith cooperation, ostensibly between the two religions.
The journey was organised by the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) and Sharaka, a nonprofit that was created in the aftermath of the 2020 Abraham Accords a series of normalisation accords between Israel and Arab states and is working to deepen them.
Pakistan’s passport, interestingly, states that it is valid in all nations except Israel. Qureshi and BenKhald, on the other hand, were permitted to enter and exit Israel using their green passports. They met with president Isaac Herzog in a “secret meeting” there.
Herzog acknowledged he received the delegation “a few weeks ago” when speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
“[…] they are proud Pakistanis, together with leaders from other nations in the area, and it was a fantastic experience since we haven’t had a gathering of Pakistani leaders in Israel on such a large scale before,” he told the conference.
“And it all originated from the Abraham Accords, which allow Jews and Muslims to coexist in the region,” he explained.
Following the meeting, Anila Ali, a dual US national author, posted a photo with President Herzog.
“I’m thrilled to be the first Pakistani and American to give President of Israel, @Isaac Herzog, a book, an eyewitness account of the #Pakistan movement written by my father, Qutubuddin Aziz.” “The president’s graciousness and friendliness humbled me,” she said on Twitter.