Israel recalls ambassador from Morocco amid sexual harassment probe

A diplomatic incident, such as Israeli diplomats harassing Moroccan women, could damage the nascent ties between the countries.

 David Govrin seen at a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in Jerusalem on March 11, 2019.  (photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)
David Govrin seen at a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in Jerusalem on March 11, 2019.
(photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)

The Foreign Ministry recalled Ambassador David Govrin from his posting in Morocco as it continued to investigate sexual harassment allegations and other irregularities at the Liaison Office in Rabat, a ministry spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

Among the allegations are sexual harassment, exploiting local women, not reporting gifts and severe workplace disputes involving Govrin.

What are relations like between Israel and Morocco? 

Israel and Morocco resumed diplomatic relations in late 2020, reopening liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat. The countries agreed to turn the offices into embassies, but have yet to do so. In the meantime, the relations between the countries have been relatively warm, with over 100,000 Israelis visiting Morocco this year.

However, a diplomatic incident, such as Israeli diplomats harassing Moroccan women, could damage the nascent ties between the countries.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is seen inaugurating the Israeli Liaison Office in Morocco, on August 12, 2021. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM/GPO)Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is seen inaugurating the Israeli Liaison Office in Morocco, on August 12, 2021. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM/GPO)

One of the matters under investigation is the disappearance of a gift from the Moroccan royal family in honor of Israel’s Independence Day, which was not properly reported to the Foreign Ministry. In addition, according to KAN, Govrin is in an ongoing dispute with his security officer.

The Foreign Ministry is also looking into the involvement of a businessman and friend of Govrin in arranging meetings between Israeli politicians, such as Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar. The man was allegedly present in the ministers’ meetings, despite not holding any official position in Israel.