A growing military alliance

Morocco and Israel continue to strengthen their strategic and military partnership. It is in this spirit that the highest ranking officer of the Israeli Defense begins next week a 3-day working visit to Morocco, the opportunity to discuss strategic details with his Moroccan counterparts.

A few months before the end of his mandate scheduled for January 2023, Aviv Kochavi, the chief of staff of the Tsahal, the Israeli army, must make one of his last international trips.

The highest ranking member of the Israeli army has led this institution, one of the strongest, benefiting from the latest technological advances in defense, since January 2019.

He became the 22nd chief of staff of the Israeli army after leading the Israeli military intelligence services from 2010 to 2014.

His visit will be the first official visit by an Israeli military leader of this rank to Morocco and the region. Before him, it was Benny Gantz in his capacity as Minister of Defense who visited the Kingdom for the signing of security agreements between the two countries.

Indeed, on November 24, 2021, Benny Gantz, had signed with his Moroccan counterpart Abdellatif Loudiyi, a defense memorandum of understanding to create a bilateral defense industry, particularly in the kingdom.

A second military agreement was signed at the same time, and it enshrined the establishment of joint military commissions, interoperability exercises between the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) and the Tsahal, and participation in international exercises.

The two parties did not wait long to make these agreements work since as early as July 2022, when the African Lion exercises were held, Israel confirmed and participated in the joint maneuvers of the United States and several countries. Africans, which were held in Morocco.

The Israeli Defense Ministry sent two IDF officers and a senior Defense Ministry official who joined a total of 7,500 soldiers for these military exercises.

This memorandum of understanding which sealed the military alliance between Morocco and Israel must therefore be implemented and it is in this context that Aviv Kochavi’s visit takes place. Israeli sources did not give any information on the size of the delegation that will accompany him to Morocco on Monday, nor the visit program.

Cooperation between Morocco and Israel in the field of Defense continues to be established, and contacts between the two countries are recurrent. On March 25, an Israeli military delegation discreetly made its first visit to Morocco, shortly before the Negev summit to which the head of Moroccan diplomacy, Nasser Bourita, went.

Journalist Barak Ravid who confirmed the news, said on Twitter that Aviv Kochavi’s planned trip to Morocco will be devoted to “military cooperation” between the two countries, noting that this is the first visit of this gender.

Before Morocco Aviv Kochavi had only visited one Arab country, namely Bahrain. The growing ties with the Jewish state can be explained by the wave of normalization with the Arab countries which took place during the presidency of Donald Trump and of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, within the framework of the Abraham Accords.

In the case of Morocco, it was a reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Israel, in December 2020. In August 2021, it was the turn of Yair Lapid, the current Israeli Prime Minister and at the time Minister of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs to travel to Morocco;

On this occasion he underlined “the restoration of peace and friendship” between the two countries, and said he was determined to bring peace and prosperity to the region.

The two countries continue to work together to pacify the MENA region, this resulted in the Negev summit, which will become a tradition. In addition, Morocco was the mediator in the reopening of the Allenby bridge for the Palestinians who will be able to go to Jordan.

The next step in the development of relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv will be to convert the liaison offices into embassies. For the moment, no date has been given on this subject.

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