Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) published an opinion piece on the cover of the Moroccan magazine in French, L’Observateur Du Maroc and in the Arabic newspaper, Ahdath Maghrebia.
The editorial was published during the Minister’s two-day, official visit to Morocco.
In the article, Minister Gantz says: “One day, in the not-so-far future, I will sit in my living room with my grandchildren, and I will tell them the story of my visit to Morocco and about the day that we made history by establishing defense relations between our countries. I will tell them that although many associate Israeli-Moroccan ties with the groundbreaking Abraham Accords, our story began long ago - and it is entrenched in the heritage of the Moroccan Jewish community.”
He also tells an extraordinary story about His Majesty, King Mohammed VI: “The legacy of King Mohamed V resonates to this day. Last week, a Jewish man, Rabbi Elhadad and his loved ones visited the Kingdom in search of their Moroccan roots – much like many Israelis who visit the country, reconnecting with generations past.”
“In a tragic incident, Rabbi Elhadad took a fatal fall. Local doctors fought to save his life – so much so that they consulted with His Majesty’s doctor. Despite their massive efforts, Rabbi Elhadad passed – may his memory be a blessing. Upon learning of this horrific accident, His Majesty, King Mohammed VI and his advisors reached out to the family and arranged a private aircraft to fly Rabbi Elhadad to be buried in Israel in a religious ritual.
“There was no press, no fanfare. His Majesty the King recognized that there is no greater 'mitzvah,' or holy act, than to tend for the deceased and to bury them in accordance with Jewish tradition at the earliest possible time.”
Minister Gantz touched on the expansion of normalization, saying that as the “IDF’s Chief of the General Staff, I fought in dozens of military operations, but I never forgot that the most important battle of all is the battle for peace and stability. This can only be achieved if we stay strong, strengthen our relations with our allies.”
“Considering the recent positive developments, I am confident that we will work with our Moroccan friends, and with the leadership of our great ally the United States, to strengthen Israel’s relations with Jordan, Egypt, the members of the Abraham Accords, new partners in the region as well as with our Palestinian neighbors.”
Minister Gantz also touched on the importance of bilateral relations, saying: “After years of informal cooperation for the prevention of terrorism, this week, we have taken a historic step in the ties between Israel and Morocco, formalizing our defense relations by signing a defense cooperation memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU establishes a framework from which we can develop cooperation in counterterrorism, intelligence-sharing, military training, professional working groups and industrial collaboration. More importantly, this agreement acknowledges our shared vision of peace and stability for our people, for the region, for the world.”
“Our partnership is vital against the challenges that threaten regional and global peace. Both our countries face the challenges of fundamentalist terrorism, border, and aerial threats. The framework that we have determined in the MOU will provide us the means to cooperate in order to defend our nations.”
Minister Gantz also touched on Israel’s biggest security challenge: “The State of Israel is particularly concerned by Iran’s regional aggression and its nuclear aspirations. I am taking this opportunity to emphasize the importance for global action against Iran – as it is not just a challenge for Israel. It is first and foremost a global and regional challenge.”
Concluding the piece with a message for the future, he said: “Israel and Morocco are celebrating the history of our shared communities. Our tourism is flourishing, and people-to-people relations are growing. Our economic cooperation is bearing fruit for both our nations. Now is the time to work together to counter developing threats, to ensure that our nations can prosper in peace and stability.”