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Israel And Morocco Deepen Ties With Visa And Health Cooperation

Israeli Interior and Health Minister Moshe Arbel was in Morocco over the weekend to meet with his counterparts and promote cooperation.

MARRAKESH, Morocco — Israeli Interior and Health Minister Moshe Arbel was in Morocco over the weekend to meet with his counterparts and promote cooperation, specifically to ease mutual visa requirements and bring Moroccans to work in Israel.

Some 200,000 Israelis are expected to visit Morocco in 2023, up from the 70,000 who traveled to the North African country last year.

“ We are intending to expedite the development of an electronic visa system,” said Arbel

Jerusalem is seeking to allow Moroccan workers to be employed as nurses and in the construction sector in Israel.

Arbel also signed a deal to establish cooperation in health fields between the two nations.

“We are deepening our ties with Morocco and pouring more substance into the peace agreement,” said Arbel on Saturday. “Israel and Morocco share challenges on health issues, and cooperation in the field will contribute greatly to improving healthcare capabilities and to citizens’ health.”

Israel and Morocco normalized relations in December 2020 under the auspices of the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords; the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan have also signed onto the agreements.

Earlier this month, Knesset member Danny Danon, speaking in Morocco, called on parliaments worldwide to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

The former ambassador to the U.N. spoke at the Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue in Marrakesh organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliament of Morocco.

The Iranian delegation walked out during his speech.

“You talk about religious tolerance but in practice, you only promote hatred and terrorism,” Danon said of the Iranian officials. “The Iranian people deserve better leadership.”

The Inter-Parliamentary Union has 179 member legislatures including the Knesset.

Days earlier, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi held a series of meetings in Rabat, including with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and the heads of the North African country’s security services.

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 15: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald J. Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, stand on the Blue Room Balcony during a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday, Sept 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. (PHOTO BY JABIN BOTSFORD/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES) 

Hangebi’s office said the talks focused on advancing the joint vision of King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on strengthening bilateral cooperation in foreign and security affairs.

Knesset ​Speaker Amir Ohana also traveled to Rabat this month, becoming the first-ever person in his post to pay an official visit to the parliament of a Muslim country.

The high-profile visits come as Israel is considering recognizing Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara in return for an upgrade of diplomatic relations.

Defense ties between the two countries are also being strengthened, with 12 Israeli soldiers participating earlier this month in the international “African Lion 2023” military exercise in Morocco.

It marked the first time that the Israel Defense Forces actively participated in the two-week drill, after joining as an observer last year.


Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Virginia Van Zandt

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