Shortly after the Abraham Agreements were signed, then-U.S. President Donald Trump announced that a fourth Arab country—Morocco—would soon establish full diplomatic ties with Israel as well. In return, Washington would recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Although Morocco sent forces to fight against Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and 1973 Yom Kippur War, it has in recent years emerged as a moderate Arab state when it comes to the Jewish state. The two nations have cooperated in various fields, especially on security and intelligence. And contrary to many other Arab countries, Morocco has treated its Jewish community with tolerance.
The normalization agreement was signed in December 2020, with economic and diplomatic cooperation, as well as direct flights between Rabat and Tel Aviv, to follow. Israel is a hot commodity in the world due to its impressive achievements in agriculture, medicine, water engineering, communications and cybersecurity—all of which can benefit Morocco.
In November, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Morocco, signing a cooperation agreement that will foster ongoing military dialogue, defense procurement and the exchange of intelligence between the two countries. The visit itself, which received wide media coverage in Morocco and abroad, is proof that ties between Jerusalem and Rabat are growing stronger.
Morocco plays an important role globally, and in the Middle East and Africa in particular. Its royal family claim to be descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, which gives it a certain influence among Arab countries. Rabat normalizing ties with Jerusalem will pave the way for other Arab countries to do the same.
It seems the time is right for Israeli-Moroccan ties to flourish. But we should bear in mind that these relations are under heavy criticism by extremists in Morocco, and internal political changes may bring the honeymoon to an end.
We must not forget that instability is a hallmark of any such relationship. If Israel fails to halt Iran’s nuclear progress, the pro-Israel trends in the region will disappear. The Iranian threat is what prompted these Arab countries to openly normalize ties with Israel. The absence of Israeli action will take away from the achievement that is the Abraham Accords, including ties with Morocco.
Professor Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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