Dr Mike Evans

Israel and Morocco sign historic military memorandum

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Loudiyi, signed a memorandum of understanding on security, intelligence, and future military arms sales this week.

The agreement follows Morocco joining the historic Abraham Accords, after it was first signed between Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE during a White House ceremony in 2020. Gantz’s visit is the first to Morocco by an Israeli defense minister. Sudan joined as the second nation in Africa to affiliate with the Abraham Accords.

Though Israel has security connections with Egypt, the new memorandum with Morocco is considered the first for a nation in Africa. “We have just now signed an agreement for military cooperation — with all that that implies — with the nation of Morocco. This is a highly significant event that will allow us to enter into joint projects and allow Israeli [defense] exports to here,” said Gantz.

“I think the ties between Morocco and Israel need to continue to get closer, to continue to develop and expand, and I am glad that we have a part to play in that,” Gantz remarked after the signing.”

Morocco’s signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020 also led to then US president Donald Trump’s administration to recognize the nation’s sovereignty over a disputed portion of the Western Sahara Desert, ending a long-term controversy over the issue. President Joe Biden has been more cautious, failing to move ahead with official recognition over the territory.

Morocco also has a shared heritage with Israel, as by 1967 some 250,000 Jews had left the country, some fleeing to Europe and the US, whereas a large part of them immigrated to Israel. Nearly half a million Israelis claim Moroccan heritage, with a small number of Jews still living in the nation.

Gantz planned to visit the Jewish community of Rabat during his trip, including a stop at its remaining synagogue, to conclude his two-day visit.