Israel and Morocco reopen liaison offices after 20 years

? BLOG UPDATE | Feb 18, 2021

Israel and Morocco plan to establish fully functioning embassies in the future. American official says that “by renewing its partnership with Israel, Morocco is helping to stabilize the region.”

Following the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and Morocco in December 2020, both countries have now sent envoys to each other’s countries.


The Israeli representative, David Govrin, arrived in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, at the end of January 2021, where he will head the Israeli liaison office.


Prior to being sent to Morocco, David Govrin was the Israeli ambassador to Egypt for four years.


Israel and Morocco actually had diplomatic relations in the past, but they were suspended due to the Al-Aqsa Intifada that erupted in 2000, also known as the Second Intifada.


Despite the suspension, the two countries have kept the offices they used until 2000, so it has been easy and quick for Israel and Morocco to reopen their liaison offices.


In the future, they will open fully functioning embassies.


Stabilization of the region


At the beginning of February 2021, the Moroccan delegation to Israel landed in the Holy Land, headed by Abderrahim Beyyoud, who will be in charge of the liaison office in Israel.


As he landed in Ben Gurion Airport, he was welcomed by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi.


At the same time, the Israeli representative to the newly established consulate in Dubai, Ilan Sztulman, touched down in the United Arab Emirates.


“The arrival of the heads of missions to Morocco and Dubai completes the first, important phase of opening new Israeli missions in the region as part of the Abraham Accords,” Gabi Ashkenazi said.


In January 2021, the American ambassador to Morocco, David Fischer, also hailed the normalization deal between Israel and Morocco.


“By adhering to the Abraham Accords and by renewing its partnership with Israel, Morocco is helping to stabilize the region, while opening up trade opportunities. Morocco and Israel have reopened their trade offices, which will soon become full-fledged embassies,” he stated.


Trade and tourism are some of the areas that Israel and Morocco are trying to strengthen after the normalization of their diplomatic ties.


Direct flights between the nations will most likely soon become reality. At the end of January 2021, the two countries signed an aviation agreement that enables them to operate direct flights on the route.


Centuries-long history of Jews in Morocco


Though there have been decades with no official ties between Israel and Morocco, the two states share a long history.


Morocco is known as the North African country with the biggest Jewish community, consisting of 2000-3000 people.


Before Israel was established in 1948, Morocco was inhabited by around 250,000 to 350,000 Jews. Back then, Morocco had the largest Jewish population among all of the Muslim nations.


Jews have been in Morocco for centuries, but the Jewish communities grew significantly in the years following 1492, where Spain and later Portugal expelled all of its Jews.


Many of them settled in Morocco, where they managed to fully integrate.


With the creation of Israel in 1948, many Moroccan Jews eyed an opportunity for a better life, which led to thousands of Jews emigrating to the newly established Jewish state.


Today, roughly 700,000 of the Jews living in Israel are of Moroccan descent.