Moroccan Jewish pray at a synagogue in Tetouan, March 16, 2008..
(photo credit: RAFAEL MARCHANTE / REUTERS)
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office MK Michael Oren on Friday welcomed the decision of Morocco's King Mohammad VI to include Holocaust education into his country's high school curriculum.
"Morocco’s King Muhammad V (sic) sent a profound moral message to the world. Anti Semitism & Holocaust denial is rising in the West, the leader of a proud Arab country is introducing Holocaust education into Moroccan schools with the goal of fighting anti-Semitism. There is indeed hope," he wrote on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the Moroccan news website Le Desk reported that King Mohammed VI of Morocco ordered to incorporate Holocaust studies into the educational program.
According to the report, the message was delivered via his Education Minister Said Amzazi in a high-level round table discussion on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Antisemitism is the "antonym of freedom of expression," the message from the King explained. "It manifests the negation of the other and is an admission of failure, insufficiency and inability to coextist."
"This is the anachronistic return to a mythical past. Is this the past that we want to leave as a legacy for future generations?" the sovereign questioned.
"For all that, the battle against this plague can not be handled carelessly. [The battle] is fought neither with the military nor with money, it above all depends on education and culture," he added, explaining that, "This battle has a name: education. And in the interest of our children, it is important for us to win it because they will be the beneficiaries and our ambassadors in the future."
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According to Le Desk, as early as 2008 the need for revision of the religious content of school textbooks to include Morocco's Jewish history and Holocaust education had been acknowledged, but little had been achieved in practice.
In 2016, a partnership agreement between the Archives of Morocco and the Holocaust Memorial Center in France was signed in order to establish "cooperation on all topics related to the history of Jews and Judaism in countries of North Africa, in research and exchange of archives and cultural and scientific events," Le Desk cited.
In 2017, Morocco approved a proposal to work with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to educate on the Holocaust and to counter intolerance.
This April, a member of the Moroccan royal family, Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, emphasized the commitment of her country to its Jewish history in a letter to the Moroccan Jewish community
in New York City.
"Morocco’s Jewish heritage continues to be part and parcel of our lives and who we are. His Majesty King Mohammed VI is committed to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers and spares no effort in the preservation of this shared heritage," the letter read.
"It is thus a great source of great pride and joy to witness the upholding of Moroccan Jewish traditions beyond our borders.”
The letter marked a significant overture that some see as part of a continued shifting dynamic in attitudes towards the region’s Jewish community that may extend towards warming relations with Israel.
Israel is not officially recognized by Rabat, in line with a wider Arab-League boycott of the country. However, reports of clandestine relations between the two countries have swirled for years, especially among its security services.
Unlike most Arab countries in the region, Israelis can visit Morocco during certain times of the year if they obtain a travel visa. Daniel J. Roth contributed to this report.
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