Morocco, Israel, and Palestine: A Unique History

Since the Nakba and Israel's claim of independence 60 years ago, Israel and Morocco have had an interesting relationship. Prior to the creation of an Israeli state, Morocco had a large, if not thriving, Jewish population. Within a decade of Israeli independence, however, a large percentage of Morocco's Jews emigrated to Israel. Today, Morocco officially has one of the best relationships with Israel of any predominantly Muslim nation, in part due to King Hassan II's efforts to promote peace in the region. Yet, under the surface of diplomatic relations, much of the population staunchly supports Palestine. Here's what a few Moroccan bloggers have to say on this, the 60th anniversary of Israeli independence.

Hisham of Al Miraat/The Moroccan Mirror laments the Palestinian situation but sees hope:

Sixty years after the Nakba the picture in Palestine is depressing, to say the least. But over the last decade or so, we've witnessed a dynamic of renaissance and awakening amongst the justice and peace camp, and the breaking down of some important taboos which served so far, helping Israel get away with its crimes against not only the Palestinian people but also against justice and History.

Many signs of hope are appearing. The shield of omerta and intellectual terrorism is cracking. More and more people are speaking out, and the cosy protection offered by the Israel lobby is fading away little by little.

He later adds:

The general thrust these days is: “Oh, come on, it's all in the past, nobody's interested any more, it didn't work, everyone knows what the Americans and Israelis are like, but stop being naive, this is the world, there's nothing to be done about it and anyway **** it, who cares?” But let me put it this way-the dead are still looking at us, waiting for us to make justice.

You better keep hope and smile for Palestine!

The interior of a synagogue in Sefrou, Morocco

Abdelilah Boukili of Regular Comments Based on Issues Raised by BBC World Haveyoursay just wants Israel to behave fairly:

The Middle East needs the birth of a really peaceful policy for everyone to live in peace. While Israel is counting the years since it was born, others are counting the deaths it has inflicted on the Palestinians, making the two sides look like Tom and Jerry. They can’t feel at ease without playing cat and mouse, just for the fun of it or by being serious about it.

One thing is sure. Israel is now a fact. It’s a fait accompli whether its enemies like it or not. But still it has to show more resilience towards the Palestinians as it is now in a strong position. Capitalizing on their weaknesses to go ahead with its intransigent policies will just perpetuate the current conflict.

So let’s hope that in its next birthday, Israel will have grown into a state with internationally recognised borders and the Palestinians have their free state instead of continuing to feel as Israel’s collective prisoners.

In related news, A Moro in America comments on a tourism initiative between Morocco, Israel, and Spain:

A new joint tourist project by Israel, Morocco and Spain will trace the footsteps of the Rambam (Maimonedes), the 12th-century Torah scholar and philosopher.

Tzemach invited Moroccan Tourism Minister Muhammad Bushid on Monday to visit Israel to discuss cooperation and to examine the initiative to launch a regional tour based on the Rambam.

The initiative was first presented to the Moroccan Tourism Ministry during the Euromed, a convention of the tourism ministries of Europe and Mediterranean countries that was held in Paris in March. The ministries have expressed their willingness to assist in the project.

Creative Commons-licensed photo by Omer Simkha


  • […] history is more than its cracked up to be!  I really enjoyed this article about the relationship of Morocco and Palestine.  Must be from the school days of studying The […]

  • jalal nali

    i’am moroccan, and i understand the israilian gouvenerment to recover his historical territory, i support this idea but, they should find a solution to live together, there’s enought space for all the jew and the muslims, regardin the morocco irael relation, you must know that the moroccan jew, they lives in israel, but in all of them place’s, they have the moroccan flag and the king picture, some of them came every year to morocco, to feel the benefit of resourcing on his roots.

  • Hi Jill!

    Sorry, this is not a comment. I just wished to share my new blog with you. Hope you’ll be able to follow it.



  • Who has heard that in the 1930’s Bagdad every 3rd citizen was a native Jew? The Sefardi (Safrati) Jews have a 400 year old history and the Mizrahi Jews over 2,500 year old history in the Middle East – outside the location of the state of Israel (Palestine).

    Here’s the statistics regarding not ONLY the expelsion of Jews from various Moslim countries in the last 60 years that Israel has been an independent state, but also numbers expelled from the Europe in a longer time interval. The Jews are no settlers of colonialism:

    Statistics, not Zionism. 60 years of survival. When the military means have lacked the power, it is now a time of a media war to spit on the Jews and curse the Jewish Scriptures. Both the Old and New Testament were written by Jews. Although Jasser Arafat in his books claimed that there never was any Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and that Jesus was not a Jew, he could not deceive the honest spectator

    As a matter of fact, the population of Arabs (my beloved friends and brothers, just like the Jews, our common fathers) under the Israeli government was increased ten-fold (10X) in only 57 years. This is close to the world record for any tribe, nation, tongue or culture on the whole planet at the same time interval. The Sefardi Jews were expelled from Spain in the very date when Christoffer Colombo lifted up his anchors and sailed away from Spain. The Jews had to leave and their possessions were stolen. In the case of the Mizrahi, the Jews have lived for millennia all around the Middle East since the first exile of Israel 500 B.C., in what are now Muslim-dominated countries. While much has been made of the 700,000 Palestinians having been made homeless with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, it’s peculiar that there is no official recognition of their Jewish counterparts. A greater number of Jews – some 856,000 – were forcefully expelled from Arab countries after the creation of the State of Israel, their homes forfeited, their belongings seized. They became refugees, migrating to Israel, mainly. But they did not spoke any Hebrew but Arabic and Farsi (Persian).

    The Second Intifada is called the Oslo War. Israel has been forced to damage the very infrastructure she has constructed and administrated while hunting the weapons from the milittant “freedom fighters”. Between 1967-1993 roads, system of siewers (gutters, ditches), electricity supply, water supply, schools, health care system, and social welfare system to the West Bank and Gaza. Even for the Arab citizens of Israel, ideal was that everyody gets the same salar for the same job, with the same social benefits. This is stated in the law, officially. In contrast, even the official law in Jordan which has the peace treaty with Israel, it is forbidden for a Jew to live in the country. The health care services have been free for the Arab population, only a portion of the price of the drugs must have been paid by the patients. Under the administrations of Great Britain (1920-1947) or Jordan (1948-1967), no universities were established for the Arabs in the country. According to The Association of Arab Universitiesin mukaan (, in contrast, under the Israeli administration altogether six universities appeared during the time (of course by the force of the local Arab people, though). Also, since 1969 an independent newspaper has appeared in Jerusalem, which has NEVER been put under a censorship.

    The Palestinian life expectancy increased from 48 to 72 years in 1967-1995. The death rate decreased by over 2/3 in 1970-1090 and the Israeli medical campaigns decreased the child deat rate from a level of 60 per 1000 in 1968 to 15 per 1000 in 2000. (An analogous figure was 64 in Iraq, 40 in Egypt, 23 in Jordan, and 22 in Syria in 2000). During 1967-1988 the amount of comprehensive schoold and second level polytechnic institutes for the Arabs was increased by 35%. During 1970-1986 the proportion of Palestinian women at the West Bank and Gaza not having gone to school decreased from 67 % to 32 %. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in West Bank and Gaza increased in 1968-1991 BKT from 165 US dollars to 1715 dollars (compare with 1630$ in Turkey, 1440$ in Tunis, 1050$ in Jordan, 800$ in Syria, 600$ in Egypt. and 400$ in Yemen).

    One-fourth of the judgements of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations strike Israel. Out of the incidences dealt in the Security Counsil one-third is having to do with Israel. I think this resembles the hysteria seen in the Black Plague in Europe, when the European Jews were accused of the pandemia and burnt alive. (As an example, one the biggest Jewish populations in the continent was in Basel, Switzerland, and all the 4000 souls were burnt in one Rhein island.)

    PLO was founded in 1964 – three years before the 6-day failed attack and occupation. The PLO articles openly state that it was not a project of the Palestinians but a project TO the Palestinians. They were commanded to literally sacrifice for them in the name of a greater war:
    Helsinki, Finland

  • jalal nali

    I wanted to point out to the last comment poster, that the jew is not a new religion in morocco, they was living in morocco, since 400 after jesus, islam come to western north africa 800 after j.c

  • […] Morocco, Israel, and Palestine: A Unique History (May 2008) […]

  • Ahlam Lbahri

    أنا مغربية مسلمة ولا أعترف بإسرائيل

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