For the first time in history, an Israeli theater company went on tour in Morocco last September. Jaffa Theater brought to the Arab kingdom three of its productions, with the support of the Embassy of Israel in Rabat, the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, Moroccan Ministry of Culture and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Morocco is one of the countries that joined the Abraham Accords in 2020. Since then, the bilateral relations between Morocco and Israel have flourished, not only at the political and economic levels, but also in the cultural field.
Jaffa Theater was established in 1988 at the heart of the mixed city of Jaffa. It describes itself as “a dynamic creative partnership between people, cultures, and languages,” where Arabic and Hebrew-speaking artists write, direct, and act.
“All the people in the theater are excited about the trip to Morocco," said Yigal Ezrati, CEO of the Jaffe Theater, ahead of the tour. "To us, Arabs and Jews, working together all year round in Arabic and Hebrew arriving in Morocco feels a natural continuation of our activity that brings together Arabic to Hebrew culture."
The tour’s opening night was held in the Muhammed V National Theater in Rabat in the presence of delegates of the Moroccan Government, the Israeli embassy and the director of the theater.
The play, Oum Kulthum, starring Galit Giat, and written by Eden Uliel and Igal Ezraty, received a very warm welcome by the audience.
Among those who spoke at the end of the event were Israeli Prof. Yossi Yona, who swept the audience with his fluent Arabic, Abdelilah Afifi, Secretary General at the Moroccan Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, and deputy ambassador Eyal David from the Israeli embassy.
During the tour, the company offered another two pieces from their repertoire.
A local orchestra played with the Israeli actors for “Farid El Atrash,” starring Ziv Yehezkel and directed by Igal Ezraty. Although the company and the musicians had very limited time for rehearsals, the performance turned out to be a great success.
The third piece, “Papagina,” by Hana Vazzana, entailed a meal prepared on stage, with the audience enjoying the food at the end of the show.
Every night, at the end of the performance, a group of young Muslim part of the Muslim Mimouna festivities also came on stage to share the story of the Moroccan Jewish communities and especially of the Jews of Rabat.
Some 3,000 people attended the plays, which received good press coverage.
“We were proud and happy to be the first Israeli theatre in an Arabic land,” Jaffa Theater commented in a statement.