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.
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.
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.