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Israeli President Prepares for Sabbatical Year in Secret Talks With Jordan’s King
A fallow field. (Shannon Prickett/Creative Commons)

Israeli President Prepares for Sabbatical Year in Secret Talks With Jordan’s King

Israeli President Isaac Herzog and King Abdullah II of Jordan met last week at the king’s palace in Amman, the Israeli president’s office announced on Saturday. The previously undisclosed meeting, seen as a sign of warming ties between the two countries after a period of frosty relations under former President Binyamin Netanyahu, was held “at the king’s invitation,” and the two leaders discussed “deep strategic issues, at both the bilateral and regional levels,” according to Herzog’s spokesman. Among these issues, Herzog said, was an agreement on the import of Jordanian agricultural produce during the sabbatical year, every seventh year in the Hebrew calendar, when some Israeli farmers let their fields lie fallow in accordance with a biblical commandment. The upcoming sabbatical year starts on Monday night when Jews throughout the world celebrate Rosh Hashana. This was Herzog’s first meeting with Abdullah since the Israeli president’s inauguration in July. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met the Jordanian king soon after his own July swearing-in. “There is a sense in the region of a desire to make progress, a desire to speak,” said Herzog after his meeting in Amman. Herzog said he spoke with world leaders “almost every day” and that “it is very important for the State of Israel’s strategic and diplomatic interests to engage everyone in dialogue.”

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