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Lapid in Morocco ‘restoring an ancient peace and friendship’

CM 11/08/2021 1

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Israel and Morocco are reviving a centuries-old friendship between the Jewish people and the people of Morocco by restoring diplomatic relations, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday, on the first visit to Rabat by an Israeli minister since the Abraham Accords.
“This ancient peace and friendship is being restored by people who rethink and redefine historic disputes,” Lapid said, thanking Moroccan King Mohammed VI for his “vision and courage.”
Lapid quoted Maimonides, who lived in the Moroccan city of Fez, as saying in his Eight Chapters: “Every state can be changed from good to evil and from evil to good if he – the person – decides so. Reality is not set. Reality is a choice we make. For too many years, we let others choose the path of war. Today, we take destiny into our own hands and choose the way of peace. Today, we choose the path set out by Maimonides.”
Lapid made the remarks in a meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita. The two later signed agreements meant to advance relations between their countries.

After being met at the airport by Minister-Delegate to the Foreign Ministry Mohcine Jazouli upon landing in Rabat for the two-day visit, Lapid went to the mausoleum for Morocco’s kings and wrote in the guest book:
“I feel honored and privileged to thank the Kings of Morocco Muhammad V and Hassan II, may God preserve their memory, for their friendship and support for Moroccan Jews throughout history and the contribution of the kingdom of Morocco to peace and stability to the region.
“Our deep gratitude also goes to [current] King Muhammad VI, may God protect him, who continues the legacy of his grandfather and father in deepening the bond between the two peoples and building peace relations between the two countries.”
Lapid will also inaugurate Israel’s mission in Rabat and visit the Jewish community in Casablanca.
Lapid is the first Israeli foreign minister to visit Morocco since Silvan Shalom, who tried to bring about normalization in 2003.
Accompanying him are Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, who was born in Morocco, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ram Ben-Barak, Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz, and Dr. Inbar Zucker, a senior Health Ministry official. Singer Shimon Buskila, whose parents were born in Morocco and who sings in both Moroccan and Hebrew, joined the delegation and plans to perform for the Jewish community.
“I am going to Morocco to represent Israel and dedicate the Israeli mission in Rabat, the capital,” Lapid said on Tuesday. “The historic trip is a continuation of a years-long friendship and a deep connection to the roots and traditions of the Jewish community in Morocco and the large community of Israelis with origins in Morocco.”
Israel and Morocco reopened economic liaison offices in each other’s countries after partial diplomatic relations were renewed in December. Rabat has yet to agree to full normalization.
The countries previously had low-level ties after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, which were suspended after the Second Intifada began in 2000. However, relations grew closer in recent years, especially in countering threats from Iran.
In addition, there are about one million Israelis who are descendants from the Moroccan Jewish community, tens of thousands of whom could be expected to visit each year.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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