Unlike Sudan and the Gulf Countries, Morocco Has Deep Historical Ties with Israel

Dec. 11 2020

Yesterday, Morocco joined the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan in normalizing relations with the Jewish state. While Rabat did send troops to join in the 1948 attempt to annihilate Israel, it has historically been less hostile to Jerusalem than many other Arab nations. The North African kingdom was also once home to a large and thriving Jewish community, which was never the case in the Gulf states or in Sudan. Raphael Ahren writes:

Moroccan Jewry’s origins date back 2,000 years, to the destruction of the Second Temple and exile. In the modern era, the community reached a [peak population] of some 250,000 in the early 1940s, when Sultan Mohammed V resisted Nazi pressure for their deportation. Numbers dwindled with the establishment of Israel, and today only some 2,000-3,000 Jews remain, but hundreds of thousands of Israelis are proud of their Moroccan origins.

[Mimouna, a holiday that northwest African Jews] traditionally celebrate right after Passover ends, has become a fixture of the Israeli cultural calendar, with countless people barbequing in parks and politicians rushing to as many Mimouna celebrations as possible.

While Israeli tourists have begun discovering the Gulf only very recently, they have been flocking to Rabat, Marrakech, Casablanca, Tangiers, and Fez via third countries for many years. Once the two countries establish diplomatic relations and open direct air-links, that number can be expected to increase dramatically.

Following the 1995 Oslo Accords, Morocco and Israel opened mutual “liaison offices,” but they were closed a few years later after the second intifada broke out in 2000.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Moroccan Jewry, Morocco


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria