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Israel’s president takes lead on ties with Jordan, Palestinians

President Isaac Herzog has been busy these past few days on the Arab and Palestinian fronts, secretly visiting Jordan and speaking on the phone first with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and then with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Isaac Herzog, a veteran of Israel's left-wing Labor party, delivers a speech after being sworn in before parliament as the Jewish state's 11th president, replacing Reuven Rivlin, in Jerusalem, on July 7, 2020.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called President Isaac Herzog on Sept. 6, wishing him a happy Jewish new year and expressing hopes for increased cooperation with Israel. A statement issued by Herzog’s office said the two men “expressed hope that the new year will bring with it more cooperation and dialogue that will bring hope for both peoples.”

One day earlier, Herzog got a phone call from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Egyptian leader called Herzog to congratulate him personally on entering office and extend his wishes to the Israeli people for the Jewish new year and the September holidays. Reportedly, the two leaders discussed bilateral issues and shared Egyptian-Israeli interest, with a mutual agreement to continue being in contact. "I thanked President al-Sisi for his important role pursuing regional stability and peace and we agreed to stay in contact," he tweeted. Sisi had sent Herzog a letter on July 16 to congratulate him on taking office. The Sept. 14 call was the first time they officially spoke.

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