Ambassador Hilale: Morocco Sovereigns Guarantee Rights of All Believers
Ambassador Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN, Omar Hilale, underlined that His Majesty King Mohammed VI remains firmly attached to the heritage of His glorious ancestors consisting in preserving and promoting coexistence between Muslims and Moroccan Jews.
During a virtual interview on Thursday evening under the theme “Israel and Morocco Reconnect”, organized and moderated by Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the Park East Synagogue in New York, Hilale highlighted the Royal vision of preserving Moroccan-Jewish cultural heritage, the natural coexistence between Muslims and Moroccan Jews, as well as the distinctive vocation of the Kingdom as a land of intermingling of religions, cultures, and peoples.
“This exceptional history of cohabitation is the reason why Morocco is home to the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world. It thus shows how Muslims and Moroccan Jews enjoyed natural peace, a harmonious coexistence which is historically anchored in the DNA and the collective Moroccan identity ”, he underlined.
In this regard, the Moroccan Ambassador recalled that the Sovereign has repeatedly insisted on the need to condemn anti-Semitism, to inculcate the values of tolerance and religious coexistence within Moroccan society and to draw lessons from the Holocaust, while emphasizing the central role of education as “the foundation of the soul of Moroccans”.
Referring to the various initiatives and measures initiated by HM the King for the preservation of the heritage and Jewish identity of Morocco, Hilale observed that the preamble to the Moroccan Constitution of 2011 recognizes the role of Judaism in the history of the Kingdom and attests that the Hebrew component is part of the tributaries of the national identity.
He also highlighted the Royal initiative for the rehabilitation of Jewish cemeteries, neighborhoods, and synagogues in Morocco, as well as the restoration of the Moroccan Jewish heritage as a whole. Likewise, the inauguration of “Bayt Dakira” and the reform of the educational curriculum to include the teaching of Jewish culture and history of Morocco were highlighted.
“The objective of these initiatives is to preserve the history of Judaism in Morocco and keep its memory for future generations”, explained the ambassador, stressing that it is also about raising a generation of citizens who understand the meaning and importance of living together.
Regarding the new impetus given to Moroccan-Israeli relations, in particular the visit last December of an American and Israeli delegation to Morocco and the decision to reopen liaison offices in the Kingdom and in Israel, Hilale gave a precise light which shows that this new dynamic should in no way be qualified as “normalization”, but rather as reconnection.
“Today, the vast majority of Moroccan Jews live in Israel, where they constitute the second largest Jewish community, with a population of around one million”, noted the ambassador. Indeed, the descendants of the Moroccan Jewish community are now one of the pillars of Israeli culture in fields such as television, theater, literature, song, poetry and cinema, while a third of members of the Israeli government are of Moroccan descent.
“We are proud to have such a Moroccan Jewish community that has remained faithful and attached to Morocco and its Kings over the years,” said Hilale, while recalling the wise words of the late HM Hassan II who had said that “when a (Moroccan) Jew emigrates, Morocco loses a citizen, but gains an ambassador”.
Ambassador Hilale also clarified that the reopening of diplomatic liaison offices is an opportunity to consolidate a diplomatic relationship that has existed for many years, and marks a global vision to build dynamic and innovative bilateral economic cooperation in the areas of trade, finance, information technology, civil aviation, tourism, water and agriculture, food security, energy, sport and many more.
“There is real enthusiasm in Morocco and Israel for this reconnection between the two countries”, noted the Moroccan diplomat, stressing that the Kingdom is guided by a real and authentic motivation.
Regarding Moroccan-American relations, Ambassador Hilale clarified that Morocco and the United States are historical allies and long-standing friendly nations, recalling the formalization of its relations with the signing in 1786 of the Treaty of Moroccan-American peace and friendship, which is still in force, constituting the oldest treaty ever signed and unbroken in the history of the United States.
Formal diplomatic relations between the two countries also date back to 1787, the ambassador continued, adding that the city of Tangier is home to the oldest American diplomatic property in the world. The American Legation Museum in Tangier is also the only building outside the United States currently considered a National Historic Landmark.
For his part, Rabbi Arthur Schneier paid tribute, on this occasion, to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for the “highly laudable” actions of the Sovereign aimed at preserving Jewish memory and identity in Morocco, in particular through initiatives to restore Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in the Kingdom.
Rabbi Schneier, himself a Holocaust survivor and a strong supporter of the memory of this human tragedy and genocide prevention efforts around the world, also praised HM the King’s efforts and actions in raising awareness about the Holocaust and promoting peace and peaceful coexistence between religions.
Rabbi Schneier also recalled the historic and decisive action of the late HM Mohammed V, who took care to protect his Jewish citizens during the darkest phase of Jewish history, the Holocaust.
Adapted from Maroc-Diplomatique