Israel and Morocco are rooted in justice - our relationship will only grow - opinion

Our beliefs in the area of law are one and the same: justice is the supreme value. This basis will enable us to expand our relationship to even greater heights.

 JUSTICE MINISTER Gideon Sa’ar arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, in Jerusalem. He is to sign a joint declaration in Morocco, regarding cooperation between the Israeli and Moroccan legal systems. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
JUSTICE MINISTER Gideon Sa’ar arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, in Jerusalem. He is to sign a joint declaration in Morocco, regarding cooperation between the Israeli and Moroccan legal systems.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The Jewish people and Morocco, and subsequently the State of Israel and Morocco have warm and deep-seated ties.

The father of King Hassan II, once said, “The Jews have lived on the blessed Maghreb land for thousands of years, even before Islam’s arrival, in an honorable and esteemed manner.“

In Israel, Moroccan immigrants fondly remember their history in the kingdom and take pleasure in their strong relations with the Moroccan government and their unique heritage.

Jews will always have a place in their hearts for Morocco. Morocco will always remain a core part of the story of Jewish Moroccan immigrants – in Israel and throughout world at large.

Israel and Morocco go way back

 IDF participates in African Lion drill in Morocco for the first time (credit: CHRISTOPHER HAL) IDF participates in African Lion drill in Morocco for the first time (credit: CHRISTOPHER HAL)

With the founding of the State of Israel, cooperation between the two countries was natural. We maintained close security relations that continued and strengthened under the reign of His Majesty, King Mohammed VI (even without maintaining public relations, due to the general Arab-state boycott of Israel). Yet, even the boycott of Israel did not prevent Morocco from serving as a major contributor in brokering the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.

In 1977, King Hassan brought Israel’s defense minister Moshe Dayan to meet with Egyptian president Sadat’s emissary and personal advisor. This enabled a diplomatic breakthrough, ultimately leading to direct contact between Israel and Egypt, culminating in president Sadat’s historic visit to Israel.

The diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco between the years 1994-2000, following the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, were extremely warm. In 2022, we now see amongst our nation a strong desire to fill these relations with content and to give them shape and form.

These warm and deep relations are based on mutual respect, a common understanding of the world and shared interests. These relations and the warm welcome Israeli tourists receive have brought forth an abundance of Israeli tourism in Morocco.

These two countries share a core common goal: to partake in the international community and its core values. Together, they take a stand on the side of maintaining regional peace and stability, and the fight against extremism and terror.

Above all, the place that Judaism and the Jewish community have had in Morocco, over such a long period, facilitates good relations with Israel and warm ties between the peoples themselves, and not just between the leadership and governments.

Our beliefs in the area of law are one and the same: justice is the supreme value. In the Bible, we are commanded by God: “Justice, justice you shall pursue.” Similarly, in the Quran, it says: “Allah commands you to return trusts to their rightful owners; and when you judge between people, judge with fairness. What a noble commandment from Allah to you. Surely, Allah is all-hearing, all-seeing.” Doing justice is a cornerstone of every faith and every society.

During my visit, along with my counterpart, the Moroccan Justice Minister Abdellatif Ouahbi, I will sign a joint declaration regarding cooperation between the Israeli and Moroccan legal systems. I see great value in sharing with one another our knowledge and expertise, and promoting a mutual discourse and partnership of learning.

Among the areas that we will discuss are topics very close to my heart that I have done much to further in the Israeli government: Promoting a Public Defense, enabling more accessibility of the system to the public, finding alternatives to punitive justice and more. I am convinced that this partnership will only benefit us and prove to be fruitful, and that both sides will derive meaningful gains from it.

I want to thank His Majesty, King Mohammed VI, for his intent to sponsor the process of the reorganization of the Jewish communities in Morocco and the addition of Jewish studies to the national curriculum.

On the backdrop of my visit to Morocco, I also want to thank His Majesty, King Mohammed VI, for recently approving three new institutions aimed at protecting the traditions of Moroccan Jewry, both in the kingdom and across the world. I also would like to express my gratitude for launching a rehabilitation project for hundreds of Jewish sites across the kingdom – an unprecedented action in the region.

Additionally, we are continuing to promote diplomatic and security cooperation between our countries: against terror and its sponsors, and in favor of stability and its fortification.

The relationship that has developed between our security establishments, as evidenced by our mutual visits and the security memorandum of understanding signed a year ago by Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Morocco’s Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of the National Defense Administration Abdellatif Loudiyi, has made our entire region safer and more secure against common threats.

Israel and Morocco are dedicated to this relationship and are committed to combating anyone who attempts to undermine their sovereignty or security.

Israel is keen on expanding and deepening its ties with the Kingdom of Morocco for the good of both peoples – economically, culturally and in the areas of law, justice and security. This friendship, rooted in a common culture and belief in the paths of peace and justice, will continue to lead us together to new heights and greater achievements.

I hope to see many of you soon, in Israel.

The writer is Israel’s justice minister.