Global, Israel, Politics, Religion

Israeli President shakes hands with Syrian and Iranian Presidents at Pope's Funeral

Israel’s Channel 2 has reported that at the Pope’s Funeral, Moshe Katsav, president of Israel shook hands with both President Bashar of Syria (twice!) and President Katami of Iran. Yedioth Ahronoth headlined its Web site report “Historic encounter in Rome“. Yedioth also reports that the President of Algeria approached Katsav, hugged him, and also shook his hand. Regarding his enounter with Bashar, Katsav said:

“I told him ‘Good morning’ and he shook my hand”

Katsav – born in Iran – reportedly spoke in his native Farsi to President Khatami about the city in which they were both born. Regarding his encounter with Khatami, Katsav is reported to have said:

“The president of Iran extended his hand to me, I shook it and told him in Farsi, ‘May peace be upon you‘”

Katsav goes on to claim that the handshakes and greetings were meaningless but I don’t believe him. Of course it’s symbolic, but symbolism has meaning. Don’t forget: everything great starts from a small beginning. As Yedioth Ahronoth notes, “The surprising encounter marks the first time a Syrian leader [has shaken] hands with an Israeli president.”
Read all about it here.

9 thoughts on “Israeli President shakes hands with Syrian and Iranian Presidents at Pope's Funeral

  1. It would be amazing if something came of it, and even if it was a polite and empty gesture, I agree that it will come to be viewed as having meaning.

  2. “….Katsav goes on to claim that the handshakes and greetings were meaningles….” wow he said something along those lines, I am impressed…
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

  3. G-Damn it Brown you make it hard to dislike you.
    I’m with Brown on this one. I’m willing to be that it was a big deal as well. Hell, they’re humans. In general, we’re looking for the same things. That’s not pie-in-the-sky stuff, that’s just the facts.
    Moreover, and like Brown, I’m willing to interpret this with good vibes. And why not? We can all use more of this…daily.

  4. arbitrary thanks for posting that link!
    I don’t think I believe Khatami that it didn’t happen anymore than I believe Katsav when he says it wasn’t important. I get the feeling Khatami is just puffing his chest out in the Iranian official media so he can look tough for whatever the Iranian equivalent of “Joe 6-pack” is

  5. I was just about to say, “I wonder what people in Syria and Iran are going to say about this.” The truth is, both Assad and Khatami have to put on shows. Whether it be to world leaders or to their own “constituencies,” I leave that to all of you to decide.

  6. I wonder how the reporter from Reuters got away with adding this line to the article: “Iran officially seeks Israel’s destruction.”

  7. Brilliant move on Katsav’s part to downplay the “incident.” While the bombastic denials of Khatami and Assad expose themselves for the petty obstructionism their leaderships represent.

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