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NGOs warn of 'Zionist infiltration' of Morocco institutes, universities

Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is welcomed by Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, in Rabat on 21 June 2022 [MarocDiplo_AR/Twitter]

Two anti-normalisation groups in Morocco have protested against what they say is increased "Zionist infiltration" of the kingdom's educational institutions.

The Moroccan National Action Group for Palestine and the Moroccan Observatory Against Normalisation yesterday warned in a letter sent to the National Union of Higher Education in Morocco about "a number of infiltrations by the Zionist intelligence services, discreetly and publicly, to college campuses".

"These infiltrations took place through so-called scientific and research activities that were given misleading descriptions and names by the officers and leaders of the Zionist army in several Moroccan universities. This was done with great secrecy over their true identities," the groups added.

The letter also called on the public to be wary and vigilant over Israel's infiltration of Morocco's educational system.

According to the head of the Moroccan Observatory against Normalisation, Ahmed Wehman, "the Zionist infiltration of the Moroccan universities as targeting of the country's elites."

The condemnation follows enhanced educational ties between the two countries, following Rabat's decision to resume diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords signed in 2020. In February 2021, Israeli and Moroccan education ministers launched a student exchange programme and agreed to conduct educational contests in Arabic and Hebrew.

READ: Israel to participate in military exercise in Morocco

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the ministries in May of this year, aimed at collaborating in the field of science in the area of sustainable development.

Following the inking of the academic partnership programmes, Morocco's Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, Abdellatif Miraoui, received a letter on 13 June by the National Federation of Education (FNE), criticising the development.

"At a time when we find prestigious universities and higher institutions across the world boycotting the Zionist entity and reserving academic and scientific cooperation and exchange with it … we find you [Morocco's Ministry of Higher Education] in a normalisation process … in violation of the feelings of the Moroccan people …" the letter stated.

"You sacrificed the Moroccan university and offered it to the apartheid state and the Israeli occupation, by receiving the minister of science, technology and space from the Zionist entity, and for signing a memorandum of understanding in the field of scientific research and technology," the FNE statement said.

READ: Morocco asks university heads to attend panel discussion in Israel

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