Netanyahu unexpectedly meets with Indonesian Muslim leader

June 14, 2018 GMT

JERUSALEM (AP) — The leader of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization has held a surprise meeting with Israel’s prime minister.

Yahya Staquf, secretary general of the 60 million member Nahdlatul Ulama, is visiting Israel at the invitation of the American Jewish Committee, a U.S. advocacy group.

Israel and Indonesia do not have diplomatic relations, and the visit has prompted protests in Indonesia.

Staquf, an advocate of interfaith coexistence, met with several religious leaders this week. However, Thursday’s meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not listed on his schedule.


Netanyahu boasted of Israel’s warming ties with Muslim countries, saying “I hope that we have some movement with Indonesia.”

Indonesia recently revoked tourist visas for Israeli visitors to protest Israeli actions in Gaza. In response, Israel has threatened to ban tourist visas for Indonesians.