Israel thanks Turkey for help fighting wildfires
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Turkey’s help to extinguish wildfires that tore across the country last week, local sources said late Sunday.

The Israeli president’s press office said in a statement that Rivlin and Erdogan also discussed relations between the countries.

Erdogan said the normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel was important for the region and the two countries would continue to cooperate on natural gas, the statement said.

Turkey sent three firefighting planes to Israel on Saturday to battle the fires that erupted Tuesday, blazing through arched forests, burning scores of homes and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee.

The two leaders spoke by telephone and also discussed an Israeli bill that called for a ban on mosques using loudspeakers for the Islamic call to prayer, the statement said.

The bill applies to all religions across Israel but many fear it is aimed at mosques that broadcast the adhan five times a day. The planned legislation specifically mentions Israelis who "suffer regularly and daily from the noise caused by the call of the muezzin from mosques”.

Palestinian leaders -- and several Muslim countries -- have criticized the proposed law as an infringement on the right to worship freely.

The statement also added that the Israeli president asked for Erdogan’s help to return bodies of two Israeli soldiers who are allegedly held by Hamas in Gaza.

Ankara and Tel Aviv renewed ties in June following a six-year split for the attack on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship in May 2010, when Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists on the Gaza-bound vessel.
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Last Modified: 2016-11-28 10:08:42
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