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Morocco King Recognizes Jewish Cultural "Component"

File: Morocco's King Mohammed VI in Paris, France, 5.2.2017
File: Morocco's King Mohammed VI in Paris, France, 5.2.2017

Morocco's King Mohammed VI has authorized a reorganization of the country's Jewish community, a "component" of national culture in the North African country, according to the royal palace.

Acting on "royal instruction", Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit proposed the establishment of new representative bodies, acknowledging the Jewish tradition as "a component of the rich Moroccan culture", according to the official news agency MAP.

Following consultations with Jewish leaders King Mohammed's initiative will establish a National Council of the Moroccan Jewish Community, a Foundation of Moroccan Judaism tasked with protecting the community's heritage, and a Commission of Moroccan Jews Abroad.

The measures were presented to a council of ministers meeting attended on Wednesday by the country's monarch and crown prince, at Rabat's royal palace.

This new organization of Moroccan Judaism comes alongside growth across a range of spheres in the ties between Morocco and Israel.

Israel and Morocco established diplomatic relations in December 2020 as part of the US-backed Abraham Accords, which saw several Arab countries normalize ties with the Jewish state.

Approximately 700,000 Israelis claim Moroccan descent and maintain strong ties with their country of origin.

The kingdom's Jewish community is estimated to number 3,000 people, the largest in North Africa.

The kingdom's Jewish community dates to antiquity and grew in the 15th century with the expulsion of Spain's Jews.

By the 1940s its number had grown to 250,000, representing 10 percent of the country's population, but mass emigration followed Israel's founding in 1948.

The measures came the same day US President Joe Biden touched down in Israel on his first presidential visit to the Middle East.