Yair Lapid landed in Morocco today, marking the first official visit by an Israeli diplomat since the two countries normalised ties last year. The Israeli foreign minister is scheduled to open a diplomatic representation office in Rabat and visit Casablanca’s historic Temple Beth-El as well as its Jewish community.
Lapid will also meet his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, and sign several cooperation agreements.
According to the Jerusalem Post, he is being accompanied by Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, who was born in Morocco; Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee chairman Ram Ben-Barak; and Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz, as well as Dr Inbar Zucker, a senior Health Ministry official.
“I am going to Morocco to represent Israel and dedicate the Israeli mission in Rabat, the capital,” explained Lapid on Tuesday. “The historic trip is a continuation of a years-long friendship and a deep connection to the roots and traditions of the Jewish community in Morocco and the large community of Israelis with origins in Morocco.”
Israel and Morocco announced the resumption of diplomatic relations on 10 December last year. All links were cut in 2000. Morocco became the fourth Arab country to normalise ties with Israel in 2020, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
Palestinians have been critical of the normalisation deals, saying that Arab countries have set back the cause of peace by abandoning a longstanding demand that Israel give up land for a Palestinian state before it can be recognised officially.