Retro: How Morocco and Israel accelerated the development of their relations in two years

Since December 2020, when Morocco resumed diplomatic relations with Israel, the two countries have inaugurated a stage revolutionizing their partnership and aspiring to create the best possible relations at all levels.

Relations between the two countries have seen the most significant breakthrough in the Arab region in the past two years. This is explained by a common desire to make up for lost time and to celebrate the very important and active Moroccan Jewish community in Israel and Morocco which looks after the interests and well-being of its Jewish community.

This mutual respect and consideration, rooted in blood ties and a community that feels at home in both countries, is the engine of a relationship that is destined to be a winner at all levels.

In the space of two years, the two countries have continued to develop their all-round cooperation: politics, economy, culture, education and science, and in areas of common interest such as agriculture, the management of water or even security.

A total of 30 cooperation agreements have been signed in recent months and the repercussions of which are already there. Six major economic and investment forums were organized between Tel Aviv, Casablanca and Marrakech to promote investment in the two countries.

Trade between Israel and Morocco increased by 213% at the end of 2022, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and the Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, Orna Barbivai, had announced the intention to raise the level of economic and commercial exchanges to more than 500 million dollars per year and whose total currently amounts to 130 million.

Israel has announced the opening of a commercial office in Casablanca in 2023 in order to develop bilateral trade, the launch of joint projects, and investment in particular by Israeli industrialists in Morocco.

At the police level, the Inspector General of the Israeli Police, Yaakov Shabti, went to Morocco last August and was received by the Director General of National Security and Territorial Surveillance, Abdellatif Hammouchi in order to discuss means of security cooperation and sharing of expertise.

In the field of education and scientific research, numerous agreements have been signed between Israeli and Moroccan universities, such as that between the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Israeli Volcani Institute, and between the Hassan-II Agronomic and Veterinary Institute (IAV) and the Hebrew University of Al-Quds to strengthen cooperation in the field of agricultural research.

And, a memorandum of understanding signed in November between the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) and the National Water Company of Israel (Mekorot) will make it possible to create bilateral cooperation in the areas of drinking water and seawater desalination.

In addition, an important agreement relating to the creation of a research platform for university cooperation in the fields of renewable energies, was signed between the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and Bar-Ilan University.

Regarding the tourism sector, the creation of direct lines between Israel and Morocco has made it possible to reconnect the Moroccan diaspora residing in Israel to their country of origin. Thus, the weekly flights between the two countries amount to 17 flights currently allowing to reach 200,000 Israeli tourists in the coming years.

Finally, the cultural sector is not to be outdone since the National Foundation of Museums (FNM) and the International Council of Museums in Israel (ICOM) have signed an agreement to strengthen professional and cultural ties between the two institutions, in addition the organization of several musical and theatrical events highlighting the merger between the two countries.

We cannot, in the end, hide the armament aspect. Indeed, military cooperation between the two parties continues to develop and has enabled the Kingdom to take a leap forward in improving its “strike force”.

Thus, according to the Middle East Institute (MEI), Morocco and Israel built their nascent alliance “on a common history and population flows”. The Institute then sheds light on the key points of military cooperation since the reestablishment of relations between the two countries, recalling in this regard that although Morocco already has strong military partnerships with the United States and the EU, “Israel offers an additional advantage to an army eager to improve its capabilities.”

“Morocco’s access to Israeli technology, and to drones in particular, allows it to take a leap forward in improving its military power”, notes the MEI, noting that “the acquisition of drones by the Morocco to Israel includes five different types of units: Heron, Hermes 900, WanderB, ThunderB, and Harfang”.

In addition, it is pointed out, the military cooperation agreement with Israel included a plan for the construction of two drone factories in Morocco to produce “Harop” drones, as well as the “development of air defense industries could build on the country’s existing aerospace industry.

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