Israel will send a delegation to Morocco Sunday morning to help bring Israelis home after Friday night’s 6.8-magnitude earthquake, the Foreign Ministry said.
The delegation will include representatives from the consular department and administrative personnel.
According to information available to the Foreign Ministry, there were 479 Israeli citizens in Morocco. All of them were accounted for by 12:30 a.m.
“I pray with the citizens of Israel for the injured and the missing and send condolences to the many families who have lost their loved ones”Bezalel Smotrich, Finance Minister
At the same time, Israel has prepared to send humanitarian aid and a rescue delegation to Morocco and was just waiting on the green light from Morocco to dispatch its planes.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on Saturday night that he had “instructed all ministries and forces to assist as needed to the Moroccan people, including preparations for sending a relief mission to the area. Israel is standing by our friends, the Moroccan people, in their time of hardship. We offer our prayers for their well-being and will assist in any way necessary.”
Likewise, President Isaac Herzog said, “On behalf of the people of Israel, I send deepest condolences to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and all the people of Morocco for the tragic loss of life in last night’s earthquake. We pray for the injured. Israel is ready to help as needed.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with his Moroccan counterpart, Minister Delegate in Charge of National Defense Abdellatif Loudiyi, on Saturday afternoon.
“A significant part of the Abraham Accords is our commitment to stand by our partners during difficult times,” Gallant said. “The State of Israel is prepared to assist the Kingdom of Morocco.”
Magen David Adom, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Health and Foreign Ministries contacted their counterparts on Saturday, offering Israel’s support. Teams of rescue workers were on hand to take off to the country, including Health Ministry doctors and nurses. Medical equipment was also prepared to be delivered.In addition, Israel’s humanitarian NGO IsraAID said it was sending a plane to Morocco Sunday morning after it was in contact with members of the local Jewish community in Marrakech.
Moreover, an emergency delegation from the Joint was scheduled to arrive in Morocco late Saturday night. The Joint has a permanent presence in Morocco and is currently providing emergency assistance in cooperation with the local Jewish community, including food, medicine, temporary shelter, medical support, evacuation, and more.
The organization said it has been working in Morocco since 1947, in partnership with the local Jewish community, which numbers around 1,500 individuals.
For the Israelis, beyond the scheduled Foreign Ministry delegation, Insurance company PassportCard said Saturday night that it had secured a plane to travel from Israel to Casablanca on Sunday, accompanied by a rescue team and a medical delegation from Magen David Adom. The aircraft would bring Israelis insured by the company back to Israel.
Earlier in the day, PassportCard had begun transferring its insured from Marrakech to Casablanca by bus. Harel Insurance also said it was making a plan to rescue its insured.
El Al Airlines announced to its customers that anyone in Morocco with a return flight scheduled on or before September 17 could reschedule free of charge. The airline said that if no seats were available, it would help find fliers alternative solutions. Other flights, pending approval by the Foreign Ministry and authorities in Morocco, would continue as scheduled.
MDA Director-General Eli Bin reached out to the president of the Moroccan Red Crescent on Saturday morning.“We are deeply concerned about the current situation,” Bin wrote in his letter. “Our thoughts are with you, especially those who have suffered losses. We trust the expertise, commitment, and capabilities of the Red Crescent to play a pivotal role in the humanitarian efforts. The leadership, staff, and volunteers of Magen David Adom hold your effective response in high esteem.”
He continued, “Be assured of the bond of friendship between us, and view this letter as a genuine offer to assist in any manner you find appropriate.”
The chairman of the board of Israel Aerospace Industries, Amir Peretz, also offered the assistance of the Israel defense giant IAI in the wake of the earthquake.
A statement from the company said that Peretz had sent a letter to King Mohammed, to the ministers and officials in the kingdom with whom he is in contact, offering help. He wrote that the aerospace industry “is ready to provide any assistance required to the Moroccan rescue forces, including advanced technological means, in coordination with the Israeli government, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Peretz, born in Morocco in 1952, served as mayor of Sderot and as defense minister before joining IAI, noted that “the friendship between the two nations is strong in normal times and certainly in times of emergency.”
IAI has many close relationships in Morocco. In May 2023, the International University of Rabat and IAI signed an MOU for an artificial intelligence International Center of Excellent.
At the time, Peretz said, “This innovative institution is a sign of a new future being forged in Morocco for both the present and future generations. The most vital mission is to transform a dream into reality by establishing a program that combines high-quality education across various fields, with a special emphasis on science and technology.” In May, Peretz met with and signed an MOU with Morocco’s Minister of Industry and Trade.
Globes noted in February 2022 that IAI would provide the Moroccan army with Barak MX air and missile defense in a deal worth $500 million. The company is one of Israel’s three defense giants, alongside Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems. IAI announced it had its most profitable half-year term in the company’s history in 2023, according to an IAI statement published in mid-August.
IDF spokesperson comments
Head of the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Avichay Adraee, wrote on his X (Twitter) account: “From Israel, our hearts are with the Moroccan people in these difficult times. God, help Morocco and its people, protect them, and ease their disaster.”
The Islamic Movement and the Ra’am Party said that they, too, were in continuous contact with the Moroccan embassy in Israel and would likewise provide emergency assistance to the earthquake victims in the country, as relevant.
Other ministers, such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, sent prayers to Morocco after Shabbat Saturday night.
“I pray with the citizens of Israel for the injured and the missing and send condolences to the many families who have lost their loved ones,” Smotrich said.