Netanyahu has a phone call with Morocco's king, invites him to Israel

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Friday with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and invited him to visit Israel, news wires reported. The two leaders spoke about moving forward with a US-brokered agreement announced earlier this month to normalize bilateral ties, according to the Israeli government’s statement.

The Moroccan king’s royal office issued a statement saying that, in his conversation with Netanyahu, the monarch recalled “the strong and special ties” between the Jewish community in Morocco and the monarchy, and reiterated “the consistent, unwavering and unchanged position of the Kingdom of Morocco on the Palestinian issue and the pioneering role of the kingdom in promoting peace and stability in the Middle East.”

While welcoming the resumption of relations with Israel, Morocco’s position regarding Palestine remains unchanged. Rabat advocates the two-state solution and the unique character of Jerusalem as a city of three religions.

Morocco was the third Arab state this year to normalize ties with Israel under US-brokered deals, joining the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Sudan has also announced plans to normalize ties with Israel, though no official agreements have been signed.

Morocco is home to North Africa’s largest Jewish community, which has been there since ancient times and grew with the arrival of Jews expelled from Spain by Catholic kings from 1492. It reached about 250,000 in the late 1940s, 10% of the national population, but many Jews left after the creation of Israel in 1948, many fleeing local hostilities directed at them over the establishment of the Jewish state.

Netanyahu also thanked King Mohammed for hosting an official Israeli delegation this week. A joint Israeli-American delegation visited Morocco on Tuesday to sign several bilateral agreements and a trilateral declaration to solidify the normalization agreement. On Wednesday, Morocco’s tourism minister announced that direct flights will begin operating between Israel and Morocco within two or three months.

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