Israel’s Morocco envoy recalled amid probe into sexual harassment, other wrongdoings

Foreign Ministry team to investigate alleged rampant sexual harassment, an expensive gift from the Moroccan royal family that disappeared, and influence peddling.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel officially recalled its ambassador to Morocco on Tuesday after concerns about the diplomat’s alleged wrongdoing were made public and the Foreign Ministry flew investigators to Rabat to investigate the claims.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministry sent a delegation to the North African country amid rumors that a senior official at the embassy had sexually exploited local women. The identity of that official is unknown.

Hebrew-language media reported that the Foreign Ministry’s investigative team will also be looking into alleged widespread sexual harassment of Israeli female employees working at the mission.

According to Kan News, Ambassador David Govrin is currently contending with allegations that a pricey gift from the Moroccan royal family was received by his office and later disappeared, in violation of guidelines that require gifts to be reported to the Foreign Ministry.

Another allegation facing Govrin is that he allowed a friend, Sami Cohen, to sit in on meetings with prominent government officials, including Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

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Cohen, a local Moroccan Jewish business and community leader, is not officially affiliated with the embassy in any way, and there was no reason for him to join meetings involving Israeli government matters, Kan News reported.

A source at the embassy told Ynet that “everyone is in conflict with everyone else” at the mission and has been marked with high staff turnover.

Moroccan news outlet Al Sachifa reported that Guvrin had butted heads with Moroccan officials and that he seemed to “lack much knowledge about the country and the sensitivity of many issues related to Moroccan society, which caused him to clash with the media and decision-makers.”

Israel and Morocco normalized their diplomatic relations shortly after the Abraham Accords were signed in August 2020, which saw the Gulf kingdoms of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates sign treaties with the Jewish state.

Some one million Israeli Jews have Moroccan heritage, and the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT) reports that between 50,000 and 80,000 Israelis visit the country each year.