President Yitzhak Herzog sent the King of Morocco Mohammed VI a congratulatory letter to mark two years since the renewal of diplomatic relations between the countries.
Following the Israel-Morocco agreement, Israel opened a diplomatic mission in Morocco in January 2021, and about two weeks later, Morocco’s diplomatic mission in Israel was opened.
Over the years, although Morocco sent military forces that fought against Israel in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War, Morocco stood out as a moderate Arab country in its attitude regarding Israel. King Hassan II supported reconciliation and compromise in the Israeli-Arab conflict and mediated between the parties in the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt and the compromise between Israel and the PLO. After the Oslo agreement, in 1995, diplomatic relations were established between the two countries. But in 2000, following the second intifada, Morocco severed its relations with Israel. In 2020, the Israel-Morocco agreement was signed, as part of the Abraham agreements, and relations were renewed. In November 2022, Mekorot and the Moroccan Electricity and Water Authority signed an agreement to develop Morocco’s water system.
“The State of Israel and the Jewish people would like to express their gratitude and appreciation to Your Majesty and the people of Morocco who for generations have acted to protect the security, welfare, and cultural heritage of the kingdom’s Jewish community,” President Herzog wrote the king.
“When millions of Jews faced the horrors of the Holocaust in the twentieth century, King Mohammed V provided a haven for his Jewish subjects,” Herzog stressed.
Morocco was home to some 265,000 Jews before Israel became a state, and King Mohammed V is remembered for his protection of Moroccan Jews from antisemitism, and his rejection of the Nazi-controlled Vichy government’s demand to deport his Jewish citizens to concentration camps in Europe.
“There are no Jewish citizens, there are no Muslim citizens. They are all Moroccans,” the late King declared.
The Aliyah from Morocco was the largest from Arab countries, numbering a total of 210,000 Jews. There were three Aniyah waves: the first from the establishment of the State of Israel until the granting of independence to Morocco in 1956, when Aliyah was legal; the second from Moroccan independence until the death of King Mohammed V, when Aliyah was illegal; and the third starting with King Hassan II, until 1964, a when Aliyah was run through a secret agreement between Israel and Morocco.