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Historic Knesset visit in doubt over Moroccan lawmaker’s health issues

The president of Morocco’s House of Councillors, Enaam Mayara, was hospitalized in Jordan a day before his planned visit to Israel.

The Israeli Knesset building. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The Israeli Knesset building. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

A historic visit to Israel on Thursday is in doubt, as Enaam Mayara, the president of Morocco’s House of Councillors, is hospitalized in Jordan.

Mayara was due to visit Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah on Wednesday before touring the Israeli parliament the following day.

The visit would reciprocate Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana’s trip to Morocco in June.

A Knesset spokesperson said a decision will be made on Thursday depending on Mayara’s condition. There was no indication about the nature of his health problem.

Protocol for Mayara’s tour would include 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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