Herzog recalls benevolence of Moroccan king to Jews during Holocaust

During World War II, King Mohammed V defied the Vichy government and refused to deport the country’s 250,000 Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

 Israeli President Isaac Herzog looks on during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, not pictured, in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2022. (photo credit: STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Israeli President Isaac Herzog looks on during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, not pictured, in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2022.
(photo credit: STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Of all the countries in the region, Morocco has the best record with regard to its treatment of its Jewish community.

During the Second World War, when Morocco was more or less under French rule, King Mohammed V defied the Vichy government and refused to deport the country’s 250,000 Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

Moroccan Jews therefore credit him with being their protector and their benefactor.

In a letter that President Isaac Herzog sent to King Mohammed VI last week on the second anniversary of Morocco’s accession to the Abraham Accords, he noted this fact and wrote: “During some of the darkest hours of Jewish history, Morocco has served as a beacon of light and hope for the Jews. When expelled from Spain in the fifteenth century, many Jews found safe haven on the other side of the Mediterranean. And when millions of Jews faced the horrors of the Holocaust in the twentieth century, King Mohammed V provided a safe haven for his Jewish subjects.”

A guardian of Jews

Herzog added that the king is remembered as the protector and guardian of Jews in his realm.

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner during a visit with Israeli delegation to Rabat, Morocco (credit: US EMBASSY IN MOROCCO/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner during a visit with Israeli delegation to Rabat, Morocco (credit: US EMBASSY IN MOROCCO/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Mohammed’s concern for humanity has obviously been handed down to both his son and grandson, as the current monarch has not only been good to the Jews, but also has a Jewish advisor.

The attitude of the present king was not overlooked by Herzog in his letter. ”We salute your own many historic acts of support for the Jewish community of Morocco and your strengthening of peace between our two countries.”

Herzog also recalled that King Hassan II, father of the present king, had played a critical role in building the foundations of the peace on which Israel and Morocco stand.