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Lapid inaugurates Israeli mission in Morocco as Herzog invites king to visit

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RABAT, Morocco — At a small ceremony limited by COVID-19 restrictions, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inaugurated Israel’s Liaison Office in Morocco’s capital Thursday morning, following last year’s agreement to reestablish ties after two decades.

Lapid was joined by Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Ram Ben Barak and Charge D’affaires David Govrin.

Morocco was represented at the ceremony by deputy foreign minister Mohcine Jazouli, with the country’s top diplomat Nasser Bourita not present.

Israeli diplomatic sources told The Times of Israel that Bourita’s absence should not be seen as a snub, but rather an attempt to show that relations with Israel are routine and normal and do not demand high-level representation at every ceremony.

Israeli diplomats have been living and working out of a Rabat hotel. The new diplomatic office will be replaced when Israel finishes renovating the building that housed Israel’s diplomatic mission in Morocco until ties were suspended with the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.

The foreign minister was due to spend time in Casablanca with the local Jewish community and pray at the Beth-El Synagogue there before returning with the Israeli delegation Thursday night.

In a sign that relations were progressing, President Isaac Herzog on Thursday invited Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to visit Israel.

Herzog’s letter to the king was relayed by Lapid.

“Your majesty, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in the near future,” the letter reads. “We are committed to deepening the strength of our relations and I hope that they further expand and flourish over time.”

He also congratulated the king on the occasion of his Throne Day.

On Wednesday evening, Lapid and Bourita signed three........

© The Times of Israel

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