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Israel, Morocco take baby steps on diplomatic, social, economic ties

Diplomatic relations are not advancing as rapidly as those with the Emirates and Bahrain, but Israel sees positive trends in ties with Morocco.
Chief economist at Israel's Ministry of Finance Shira Greenberg (L) and Morocco's Director General of the Customs and Indirect Tax Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Finance Nabil Lakhdar exchange a signed agreement on the first Israel-Morocco direct commercial flight at the Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco, Dec. 22, 2020.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was in the United States this week, for a farewell visit ahead of the end of his term July 9. As part of his visit program, 21 ambassadors participated in a ceremony at the United Nations’ New York headquarters, honoring Israel’s outgoing president. One of the ambassadors invited was Moroccan envoy to the UN Omar Hilale, who surprised the other participants. Not only did he come to the event, but he also chose to address the gathering, referring publicly to the normalization agreements signed between Israel and Arab countries, including Morocco. Hilale noted he considered this development as historic, hailing Israel’s willingness to reach these agreements and expressing his optimism for the future of the region. He said there was no alternative to peace.

The public address of Hilale marks another step in the construction of bilateral ties between Israel and Morocco. Contrary to the rapidly developing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and with Bahrain, ties with Morocco are taking their time, even regressing at points.

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