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Normalization with Morocco warms Israeli hearts

Unlike the normalization deals with Bahrain and with the United Arab Emirates, the imminent deal between Israel and Morocco will be built on centuries of common history and heritage.
Moroccan Jews and Israeli Jewish tourists participate in a religious ceremony to observe the holiday of Sukkot (the Feast of the Tabernacles) at a synagogue in the "Mellah" Jewish quarter of the Medina in Marrakesh on October 13, 2017.
The once teeming Jewish area of Moroccan tourist gem Marrakesh is seeing its fortunes revived as visitors including many from Israel flock to experience its unique culture and history. / AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA        (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Morocco may be the fourth Muslim country to normalize ties with Israel in the past four months, but the Dec. 10 announcement generated a special excitement in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the country. Unlike the Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, where the Jewish communities are tiny and the history of bilateral relations rather short, Morocco and Israel share decades of contacts and centuries of common traditions and cultural ties.

Speaking at a Hannukah candle-lighting ceremony, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The people of Morocco and the Jewish people have had a warm relationship in the modern period. Everybody knows the tremendous friendship shown by the kings of Morocco and the people of Morocco to the Jewish community there. And hundreds of thousands of these Moroccan Jews came to Israel, and they form a human bridge between our two countries and our two peoples, of sympathy, respect, of fondness and love."

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