Israelis of Moroccan descent stepped down last week from an El Al Airlines aircraft for a visit to Morocco, with many arriving to mark the anniversary (hilula) of the death of the famed Rabbi Haim Pinto.
(See the below video posted by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto, the rabbinic sage’s fifth descendant.)
A record 2,000-plus Moroccan Jews from around the world arrived in the city of Essaouira to mark the rabbi’s hilula, according to Morocco World News.
“I am sure they will enjoy discovering this wonderful historical city (Essaouira) that I personally adore,” enthused Eyal David, Israel’s deputy head of mission in Morocco.
إستقبل مطار الصويرة امس أول رحلة جوية للشركة الإسرائيلية "العال" مباشرة من تل ابيب ??✈️?? السياح القادمون من اسرائيل جاؤو خصيصا لحضور احتفال هيلولة الحاخام حاييم بينتو التي تقام سنويا ✡️ انني متاكد من انهم سيستمتعون باكتشاف هذه المدينة التاريخية الرائعة التي أعشق شخصيا ? pic.twitter.com/qIIkznL7Ol
— Eyal David (@EyalDavid_mfa) September 16, 2022
This was the first such visit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to the tomb of the rabbi, who passed away on the 26th day of the Hebrew month of Elul.
The rabbi, who served as the Jewish leader of Essaouira, was an extremely popular scholar and teacher.
Jews flock to the rabbi’s tomb on pilgrimage each year to mark the anniversary of his passing with prayers at the gravesite in the city’s old Jewish cemetery.
Hundreds of Moroccan Jews sang and danced this year at the tomb while holding pictures of King Mohammed VI and waving the Moroccan flag.
Israel and Morocco re-established diplomatic ties in December 2020, with Morocco becoming the fourth Arab signatory to the historic Abraham Accords.
Since that time, Morocco and Israel have taken a series of measures to strengthen those ties. This past April, more than 15,000 Israeli tourists visited Morocco to celebrate Passover.