Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis met with the designated ambassador and head of the Moroccan Embassy yesterday to discuss the results of normalising ties and advancing further cooperation with each other.
Akunis assured Abdel Rahim Al-Bayoud that he would “work to promote joint ventures between the two countries” and that Israeli citizens, many of whom are immigrants from Morocco or have Moroccan ancestry, “are happy and excited about the relationship that is being forged.”
The Israeli minister pointed out that the normalisation agreement signed last year has “enormous potential” in trade, the economy, tourism, technology, and innovation. “The agreement fundamentally changes the political situation in our region, creating an entirely new atmosphere in the Middle East.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Moroccan ambassador claimed to be “delighted” to be hosted by the Office for Regional Cooperation. “This historic peace agreement between the two countries has greatly pleased the Moroccan people who love Israel. Jewish tradition is an integral part of Moroccan culture,” said Al-Bayoud.
The ambassador shared his expectations for the agreement, starting with his intent to “strengthen tourism relations between the countries by operating a direct flight line” after the current month of Ramadan.
His meeting with Akunis came after Israeli and Moroccan institutions signed two agreements earlier this month to increase cooperation in the economy and education, noted the head of Israel’s diplomatic mission in Morocco, David Govrin.
The first agreement was signed between the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises, the largest corporate group in Morocco, and one of Israel’s top technology companies, IBEO, explained Govrin on Twitter. Another deal was signed by the National School of Business and Management in Casablanca and Tel Aviv University’s School of Management.
In 2000, Morocco severed all ties with Israel after the latter’s violent response to the Second (Al-Aqsa) Intifada and the suspension of peace talks with the Palestinians. However, it restored diplomatic relations in December under a US-sponsored deal, becoming the fourth Arab country last year to agree to normalisation with Israel after the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan.