Moroccan authorities dismantle a network selling fake Moroccan IDs to Israeli nationals.
Rabat – As talks of diplomatic normalizatıon stall between Morocco and Israel, some Israeli citizens have decided to move ahead of the languishing political dialogue between the two countries. They are resorting to buying counterfeit Moroccan IDs.
Members of the National Brigade of Judicial Police (BNPJ) arrested ten people on Tuesday and Wednesday on suspicion of having links to a criminal network.
The group was arrested on the basis of information provided by the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST).
The group has allegedly been active in falsifying official documents in order to grant Moroccan citizenship.
According to a statement by the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), among the suspects arrested in this case were a Jewish Moroccan, three police officers, a public officer, an administrative attache, and a commercial agent from a travel agency.
Others are suspected of complicity in facilitating the criminal acts.
The statement added that the modus operandi of the network, which is managed by the Jewish Moroccan, consists in falsifying contracts to help Israeli citizens of non-Moroccan origin obtain false evidence to register in Morocco’s civil register.
The leader of the group then applies for authorization to register civil status and obtain false birth certificates for people of Jewish faith.
The main suspect in the criminal network sought to procure Moroccan passports for illegitimate purposes for his clients, according to police. In exchange, he receives between $5,000 and $7,000.
His supposed accomplices include police officers, enforcement officers, and public officials.
The news comes amid reports of prospective diplomatic normalization between Morocco and Israel. Some Moroccan civil society groups have slammed the reports, pointing to the North African country’s unflinching support for the Palestinian cause.
But the lack of diplomatic ties between the Morocco and Israel does not whitewash the considerably positive feeling that Morocco elicits to thousands of Moroccan Jews, despite the complex history.
Around 10,000 Moroccan Jews are believed to be currently living in Morocco. And while that number is far below the 265,000 that the country hosted at some point around World War II, the emotional attachment to Morocco cannot be said to have waned.
In November 2018, a number of prominent Jewish Moroccan artists convened in Marrakech to celebrate their Moroccanness and pay tribute to “beautiful memories” of a “shared heritage.”
“I am first and foremost a Moroccan,” said one of the artists.