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Morocco, Israel to launch student exchange programme – Middle East Monitor

Israeli Education Minister, Yoav Galant, yesterday agreed with his Moroccan counterpart, Said Amzazi, to start an educational exchange programme.

In a phone call, Galant thanked Amzazi for the latter’s recent decision to “include Jewish heritage and history in the Moroccan education curriculum”, adding that Israel would add topics about Jews in Morocco to its national curriculum.

“Thanks to King Mohammed VI for protecting the Jews and preserving the sites of the Jewish heritage in Morocco,” Galant said.

The two ministers also discussed organising heritage educational trips between two countries for student delegations to learn about the history of the Jews of Morocco.

The move comes following an agreement between the two governments in December to strengthen ties and mutual cooperation in return for the US’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.

READ: Israel to double number of tourists going to Morocco

Morocco has been in conflict with the Algeria-backed separatist Polisario group over the Western Sahara since 1975, after the Spanish occupation ended. It turned into an armed confrontation that lasted until 1991 and ended with the signing of a ceasefire agreement.

Rabat insists on its right to govern the region, but proposed autonomous rule in the Western Sahara under its sovereignty, but the Polisario Front wants a referendum to let the people determine the future of the region. Algeria has been supporting the Front’s proposal and hosts refugees from the region.

The 1991 ceasefire came to an end last year after Morocco resumed military operations in the El Guergarat crossing, a buffer zone between the territory claimed by the state of Morocco and the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which the Polisario said was a provocation.

By launching the operation, Morocco “seriously undermined not only the ceasefire and related military agreements but also any chances of achieving a peaceful and lasting solution to the decolonization question of the Western Sahara,” Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, said in a letter to the UN.

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