update deskMiddle East

Moroccan parliamentary leader to pay historic visit to Israel

Enaam Mayara, head of the Moroccan senate, will be the first Moroccan leader to make an official state visit to the Knesset.

Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana (left) and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita meet in Rabat, June 8, 2023. Source: Twitter.
Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana (left) and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita meet in Rabat, June 8, 2023. Source: Twitter.

The president of Morocco’s House of Councillors, Enaam Mayara, will visit Israel on Thursday, according to an announcement from his office.

It will mark the first time that a Moroccan leader has set foot in Israel’s parliament in an official capacity.

The visit reciprocates Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana’s visit to Morocco in June.

Israeli Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana on the streets of Rabat, Morocco. Source: Twitter

“This is a precedent visit that testifies to the new era created in Israel-Morocco relations,” said Ohana, who invited Mayara.

“In the past, one could only dream of the arrival of a symbol of Moroccan rule for a state visit to Israel. 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,” he added.

Protocol for Mayara’s visit will include the Knesset displaying the Moroccan flag and playing the Moroccan national anthem for the first time.

The House of Councillors is the upper house of Morocco’s parliament.

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 currently live in the North African country.

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

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