Monthly Archives: December 2020

Israel’s Renews Relations With Morocco

The national flags of Morocco, Israel and the United States on an El Al plane to Morocco flying a delegation to finalize a normalization deal between Jerusalem and Rabat, at Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, December 22, 2020. (Photo: Judah Ari Gross)

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — December 22, 2020 … Israel has renewed diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Morocco. Both sides celebrated the first flight from Israel to Morocco with the historic El Al flight 555 flying from Tel Aviv to Rabat.

Upon landing, tea and fruit juices were served as members of the delegation waited for a nose or throat swabbing to test for the coronavirus. The delegations were welcomed by the regional governor, a royal protocol representative and a representative of the foreign ministry. During the day, the delegation visited the graves of King Mohammed V and King Hassan II.

The delegations held joint working meetings in various fields with their Moroccan counterparts signing agreements on visas, aviation, water, and finance and investments.

Israel National Security Council head Ben-Shabbat: “We arrived in Morocco pursuant to the historic agreement between the leaders: US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King of Morocco Mohammed VI. We left on a direct and historic Israeli flight to Morocco with the intention of adding tangible agreements to the diplomatic achievement that has been made. History is being written before our eyes.”

The two nations have maintained low-level ties from 1975 to 2000, until Morocco called them off with the Palestinian outbreak of the Second Intifada terror uprising in Israel. The liaison offices, which never shared embassy status, that Israel and Morocco plan to open in the coming weeks in each other’s countries are the same facilities used during that period.

During their meeting, which was held in Moroccan Arabic, they discussed the relations being forged between the countries. King Mohammed VI said that he favors deep, full and long-term relations between the two countries.

In the palace, behind closed doors, Ben-Shabbat, Kushner and Bourita signed a trilateral declaration, calling for Morocco and Israel to formalize ties by the end of next month.

Representatives of the two countries signed agreements on visa exemptions for diplomatic and service passport holders, cooperation on water issues, cooperation in finance and investments, and cooperation on civil aviation and direct flights between the countries.

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Lior Haiat at the King’s palace stated: “Another historic visit and another peace agreement in the Middle East. Busy and fascinating days in Rabat, the capital of Morocco that peaked with the first visit of an official delegation from Israel that arrived on the first direct ElAl flight.”

Israeli NSC head Ben-Shabbat stated the following:

“I would like to thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the privilege of being included in the Israeli delegation that has been charged with the mission of adding tangible agreements to the diplomatic achievement. Relations with Morocco are especially significant, beyond the diplomatic and economic aspects. Many Israeli citizens, members of the Moroccan community, have longed for this moment. Like myself, many from the second and third generation of olim from Morocco, who live in Israel, uphold – and are continuing – the heritage of our forefathers.”

Though Israelis could already enter Morocco as part of organized tours before, now they will be able to travel individually and have an easier time obtaining visas. The path between the nations will be further enhanced by planned direct flights. 

The renewed relations with Morocco were the fourth, following similar agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Israel On Alert Following Terror Attacks

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — December 22, 2020 … Following the brutal terror attack on Esther Horgen, an Israeli civilian who was murdered near Tal Menashe, a settlement in northern Samaria, the IDF on Tuesday said it is increasing security measures in the West Bank.

The IDF “will reinforce troops in Judea and Samaria today [Tuesday] to enhance the defense of communities and roads in the region,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

All soldiers in the Judea and Samaria Division will be under curfew until Friday. Also on Monday, a terrorist attack took place in Jerusalem’s Old City near Lions’ Gate. The suspect, a 17-year-old Palestinian from Kabatiya, near Jenin, was armed with a submachine gun and shot at police before being neutralized by Border Police (MAGAV) officers, the police said.

The husband of Esther Horgen, whose wife was found dead in a northern West Bank forest, called for an increase in settlement building and “an appropriate security response” to the terror attack. The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, said that Horgen was murdered with a large rock.

“Esther raised a beautiful family and loved her grandchildren, and now they will have neither a mother nor a grandmother. Esther will be missed by us all, her family and everyone who knew her,” Benjamin Horgen told reporters outside his home in the Tal Menashe settlement.

His wife Esther, 52, a mother of six, had gone out for a run in the Reihan forest near their house Sunday afternoon and did not return, whereupon Benjamin called police. Her body was found overnight in the forest with signs of violence on it.

Esther’s daughter Odelia mourned the loss of her mother and in tears said that she would not be at her future wedding.

Esther Horgen, 52, who was found dead in the northern West Bank from a terror attack on December 20, 2020.

“My mother is my best friend. She came to visit me at the end of the world, in Australia. Where are you now, mother?” said Odelia. “I am sorry that you will not dance at my wedding.”

Dozens of mourners attended Esther’s funeral including Settlements Minister Tzachi Hanegbi.

Israeli forensics and police officers at the scene where Esther Horgen was found dead in a forest in the northern West Bank.
Photo by Meir Vaknin/Flash90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated: “The late Esther Horgan was brutally murdered when she went out for a run near her home. The Israel intelligence and security forces will apprehend the murderers as quickly as possible and we will settle accounts with those responsible. I would like to send my deepest condolences to the family.”

“Every city, town, park and nature trail will have a combination of armed security forces, cameras and or drones monitoring the area,” said an Israeli security official.

“Those responsible for terror attacks will be found and addressed. And we will make sure that those who murder Jewish civilians are not rewarded in a pay for slay arrangement by the Palestinian Authority, ISIS, Hamas and or Islamic Jihad. We trust that the Biden administration will not provide aid to the Palestinians which will then reward the murder of Jews.”