JCRC Joins Jews Worldwide Celebrating Israel-Morocco Normalization

Dec. 11, 2020

Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:

“The recent announcement that Israel and Morocco agreed to re-establish full diplomatic relations is welcome news to all who strive for peace, and especially so for the Jewish community of Morocco and the hundreds of thousands of Jews of Moroccan origin who today live in Israel, the United States, and worldwide.

“Anyone who has traveled to Israel – whether they are aware of it or not – has felt the influence of Moroccan Jewish culture, cuisine, music, and art in contemporary Israeli society. This normalization deal allows those bonds to be brought further into the light, with benefits as tangible as direct flight for Israelis to visit the places their parents and grandparents once lived their lives. Another marker of progress is the news that Jewish history and culture will become part of the educational curriculum in Morocco.

“As the fourth Arab country in as many months – following the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan – to normalize relations with Israel, Morocco continues an extraordinary trend of progress in the Middle East. Israeli, Arab, and American leaders – in this case, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, King Mohammed VI, and President Donald Trump – are to be commended for this historic development. The JCRC has long argued that engagement and dialogue are the answer to the troubles of the region, not boycotts and demonization, and we gladly see this as a fulfillment of that principle.

“We hope this latest development, coming as Jews gathered around their hannukiyot for the first night of Hanukkah, will mirror a new era of light and warmth between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”

Rabbi Avram Ettedgui, a legendary educator and spiritual leader in the Twin Cities Jewish Community, is heartened by warming ties between Israel and his country-of-birth:

“I am happy for any Arab country to normalize relations with Israel, and so much more so, for a country like Morocco with such rich Jewish history.[Moroccan Jews] maintain fond memories of Morocco. It will be beautiful for 2nd and 3rd generation Moroccan Jews to return — and their visits will bring a tremendous boost to the morale and economy of the Jewish community that remains in Morocco.”

Update – Jan. 4, 2021

“The JCRC appreciates that in a New Years Day editorial, the Star Tribune Editorial Board referenced the four Arab states’ normalization with Israel in the context of another round of Israeli elections on March 23, the incoming Biden administration, and the opportunity for all parties to build on the progress of these accords toward a two-state solution with the Palestinians.”

Photo: This combination of file pictures created on December 10, 2020 shows a Moroccan flag off the coasts of the city of Cayenne on March 21, 2012 and an Israeli national flag on September 23, 2020. (AFP via arabnews.com)


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