update deskMiddle East

Moroccan parliamentary leader postpones Knesset visit

Rabat and Jerusalem will work to reschedule Enaam Mayara's historic visit, which was delayed due to ill health.

The Knesset in Jerusalem on July 3, 2022. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The Knesset in Jerusalem on July 3, 2022. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Enaam Mayara, the president of Morocco’s House of Councillors, has postponed his scheduled visit to Israel’s Knesset on Thursday due to an emergency health issue, Arab media reported on Wednesday.

The parliamentarian canceled the highly anticipated visit after being hospitalized in Jordan’s capital Amman at the conclusion of a visit at the invitation of Jordanian Senate President Faisal al-Fayez.

Mayara also canceled Wednesday’s scheduled visit to the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah.

The Moroccan and Israeli sides confirmed that they will work to reschedule the Knesset visit after Mayara returns to Rabat.

Mayara’s visit would have marked the first time a Moroccan leader has set foot in Israel’s parliament in an official capacity.

It would also have reciprocated Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana’s visit to Morocco in June.

Protocol for Mayara’s tour was to have included the Knesset displaying the Moroccan flag and playing the Moroccan national anthem for the first time.

“In the past, one could only dream of the arrival of a symbol of Moroccan rule for a state visit to Israel,” Ohana said earlier this week. “Today it is a reality full of hope, which has something to teach us about the possibilities for expanding the circles of peace in the Middle East.”

Ohana, of the ruling Likud Party, is the son of Moroccan Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1950s.

Israel and Morocco normalized relations in December 2020 as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords. In July, Israel recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara, which has paved the way for Morocco to upgrade its liaison office in Tel Aviv to an embassy.

Israel is reportedly considering opening a consulate in the Western Sahara city of Dakhla.

In July, King Mohammed VI of Morocco invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the North African country. The invitation came shortly after Israel’s official recognition of Moroccan claims to Western Sahara.

An estimated one million Israelis are either from Morocco or are of Moroccan, Jewish descent. Approximately 3,000 Jews live in the North African country.

More than 200,000 Israelis visited Morocco in 2022, as COVID-19 travel restrictions came to an end.

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