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Lapid heads to Morocco in highest-level visit since reestablishment of ties

9 23 1
11.08.2021

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid took off for a two-day visit to Morocco on Wednesday, making the first official visit by Israel’s top diplomatic officer since 2003, and the highest-level trip since an agreement between Jerusalem and Rabat last year to reestablish ties after some two decades.

Lapid will officially open up the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat in the afternoon, and will meet with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita.

On Thursday, Lapid will spend time in Casablanca with the local Jewish community and will pray in the Beth-El synagogue there.

The trip is the fruit of a US-brokered deal for Morocco to resume ties with Israel which were cut off in 2000 following the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Though the countries are not establishing full ties, Israeli officials have said they expect Rabat to eventually upgrade the relationship and establish full diplomatic missions.

“This historic visit is a continuation of the long-standing friendship and deep roots and traditions that the Jewish community in Morocco, and the large community of Israelis with origins in Morocco, have,” Lapid said in a statement, referring to the million-plus Israelis of Moroccan heritage, many of whom regularly visit the North African country.

“It will be a moment for political and economic activity, and we will continue to work towards agreements that will bring innovation and opportunity to our countries.”

Joining Lapid on the flight are Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, born in Essaouira, Morocco; Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz; Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ram Ben Barak; and senior Health Ministry official Inbar Zucker.

David Levy visited Morocco as foreign minister in December 1999. In 2003, then-foreign minister Silvan........

© The Times of Israel


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