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Morocco takes legal action against Israeli claiming to be daughter of late King Hassan II

January 18, 2023 at 10:32 am

King Hassan II [Barry Iverson/Getty Images]

The Moroccan government has filed a lawsuit in Belgium against an Israeli woman who claims that she is a Jew of Moroccan origin and her father is the late King Hassan II, and thus she is the sister of King Mohammed VI, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported.

The claim has surfaced repeatedly for nearly 20 years, and is now at an advanced stage at a court in Belgium.

L’Echo and other European newspapers said that Israeli-Belgian citizen Jean Benzken, 69, filed a lawsuit before the Family Affairs Court in Walloon Brabant in Belgium demanding a judgment confirming her link to the Moroccan royal family as the daughter of the late king. In the years following King Hassan’s death in 1999, Benzken announced that she is his daughter from a Jewish mother, and that she was born in 1953 when Morocco was under French-Spanish occupation. Hassan was the crown prince at the time. In 2008, she tried to file a lawsuit in Israel but the court deemed the case to be outside its jurisdiction.

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After she obtained Belgian citizenship, she filed a lawsuit in a local court. She benefits from a precedent set in Belgium, where King Albert II was forced in 2018 to conduct a DNA paternity test to determine whether he is the father of Delphine Boel. It was confirmed that she is, in fact, his daughter. This was recognised formally on 27 January, 2020, and she was granted the title of Princess Delphine of Belgium.

Benzken’s defence team met the Moroccan ambassador in Brussels in 2018 and handed him a formal request for the royal palace to recognise the connection of their client to the Moroccan royal family. The palace responded by describing the move as blackmail. With Benzken claiming recognition as a member of the Moroccan royal family, plus compensation of €15 million, Morocco has apparently filed a counter-claim, alleging blackmail. The case continues.