Israeli President Herzog to Morocco’s king: ‘Let’s meet!’

Next to his signature, Herzog included the traditional Arabic closing ‘Salam aleykum,’ meaning peace be upon you.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Israeli delegation led by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid touched down in Morocco on Wednesday, with the goal of strengthening newly forged official diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog wrote a letter to the King of Morocco, praising the Royal Family and expressing his interest in meeting with the monarch.

“Allow me to express my sincere appreciation for Your Majesty’s decision to establish full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the State of Israel,” he wrote.

“We are committed to deepening the strength of our relations and hope that they further expand and flourish over time.”

Herzog said the Moroccan monarchy had a history of protecting their Jewish subjects. He thanked them for guaranteeing the “safety and security” of Jewish communities “throughout the years.”

Next to his signature, Herzog included the traditional Arabic closing “Salam aleykum,” meaning peace be upon you.

During a meeting with Lapid on Wednesday, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita called upon Israel to embrace a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bourita called the ties between Israel and Morocco “unlike any other,” touching upon the centuries-long history of the once 250,000-strong Jewish community in Morocco.

Some one million Israeli Jews have Moroccan heritage and maintain strong cultural ties to the country.

On Thursday, Lapid inaugurated a new Liaison Office in Rabat that will serve as Israel’s embassy in Morocco until the completion of renovations to the official embassy building.

Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, who was born in Morocco, stood alongside Moroccan Deputy Foreign Minister Mohcine Jazouli and Lapid as they cut the ribbon and officially opened the office.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement praising the inauguration of the diplomatic mission, calling it “significant for Israel, Morocco, and the broader region.”

The U.S. would work to strengthen the relationship between the countries to “create a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future for all the people of the Middle East,” he added.

Even before diplomatic relations were officially established, an estimated 35,000 Israeli tourists – many of Moroccan heritage – visited the North African kingdom each year.

A July report from Israel’s Regional Cooperation Ministry and the Israel Export Institute predicted that on the heels of the normalization agreement, trade between the two nations could reach $250 million annually.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE database, Israel exports to Morocco totaled some $12 million in 2020.