Morocco announces it will rehabilitate its Jewish heritage sites

King Mohammed VI has launched this plan to restore relations between the kingdom and Israel
judios marruecos


Morocco, thanks to the presence of King Mohammed VI, has drawn up a plan to rehabilitate certain places of worship and sites sacred to the Jewish religion. This idea has been announced in a report, which foresees the renovation of hundreds of synagogues, cemeteries and sites belonging to the country's Jewish community.

The project has also announced the restoration of the original names of some Jewish neighbourhoods and the renovation of 13,000 Jewish graves in the cemetery of the city of Fez. Moreover, this coincides with the opening of several Jewish museums and various initiatives to preserve the memory and heritage of the Jewish people.

These developments correspond to the establishment and maintenance of relations between the Alawite country and Israel over the past year. On the occasion of the Abraham Accords held in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, and with the help of former President Donald Trump, diplomatic agreements were re-established between the Jewish country and several Arab countries, which is why major improvement projects are being carried out that involve friendship and cordiality between them. One of them is Morocco, which has been trying to abide by these agreements since last year.  

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   Un hombre reza en el interior de la sinagoga de la Mellah de la ciudad marroquí de Marrakech
AFP/FADEL SENNA - A man prays inside the Mellah synagogue in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

One of the latest events to take place is the celebration of the Jewish holiday known as "Hanukah" in the Alawi country. A week ago, the Moroccan government announced that the two communities, both Hebrew and Arab, could once again celebrate the Jewish ceremonies in a more "normal" way, since last year, due to the pandemic, the rituals were carried out among few people and were broadcast via the Zoom video streaming platform. The event was held in Casablanca's Olympic Stadium and was attended by many well-known faces from both worlds, including Rabbi Levin Banon, who led the ceremony.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Argentina dedicated great words of support and joy to this celebration: "Morocco, a country of peace and tolerance, celebrates Hanuka with its Jewish community", the embassy said on Twitter. Both the government and its population know that this holiday is of great importance for the Jewish people and therefore have not missed the opportunity to celebrate it as one of the key points in their new relationship.

It is worth noting that the Maghreb country is one of the places outside Israel with the highest number of adherents to the Hebrew religion. Morocco is home to the largest Jewish community in North Africa, with around 3,000 people who follow these beliefs. Its most active Jewish community is mainly located in the city of Casablanca.  

AFP/FADEL SENA - Judíos marroquíes y turistas judíos israelíes celebran una ceremonia religiosa en una sinagoga de Marrachek el 12 de octubre de 2017
AFP/FADEL SENA - Moroccan Jews and Israeli Jewish tourists celebrate a religious ceremony at a synagogue in Marrachek on October 12, 2017.

On the other hand, and as a normalisation of tensions, the last two years have been used by the two nations to cooperate with each other. In the last month, Chakib Alj, president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) will travel to Israel to seek business opportunities and to create business communities between the two countries. Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, Israel's Minister of Defence, travelled to Rabat to sign a memorandum establishing export licensing between the two territories, which has become an 'unprecedented' agreement.

At the same time, the creation of a direct air route between the city of Tel Aviv and the Moroccan city of Casablanca was announced. It was planned to be launched in the middle of this month, but due to the health and epidemiological situation in Morocco and its decision to close the borders, it is not yet known whether this project is still underway. This line will consist of three weekly flights between the two areas, which will bring together both the Moroccan community living in Israel and the Jewish community located in the Maghreb to travel to their respective countries. In addition, it is envisaged that these flights will eventually increase from three to five.