An Israeli diplomat expressed satisfaction with the number of visitors from Muslim and Arab countries, welcoming tourists.
The news agency obtained statistics from the Population and Immigration Authority, which revealed that nearly 55,000 tourists visited Israel from countries that have no diplomatic ties with it.
From the Maghreb, the statistics show that 2,108 Moroccans visited Israel, followed by Tunisians (at 949), and Algerians (at 36).
The news agency also said that 12,363 Jordanians visited Israel, followed by 4,947 Egyptians.
زار إسرائيل خلال عام 2018 عدد غير مسبوق من السياح (55 ألفا) الذين جاؤوا من دول عربية وإسلامية لا تقيم علاقات مع إسرائيل وهي إندونيسيا وماليزيا وتونس والمغرب والسعودية والجزائر والكويت والإمارات وعمان وقطر.
17 ألف سائح جاؤوا من الأردن ومصر.
أهلا وسهلا بكم جميعا في بلدنا الجميل. pic.twitter.com/tonEqiBsF2
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) May 6, 2019
The data also reveals that 14,000 Malaysians made the trip to Israel. Other visitors from Muslim countries also include tourists from Saudi Arabia (6), Kuwait (34à, and The UAE (25).
The data received applause from Israeli diplomat Ofir Gendelman, who welcomed the tourists from Arab countries to Israel.
The statistics come a few months after Israeli news outlets reported on a secret meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Moroccan government, however, denied the news, emphasizing that the Kingdom of Morocco “does not respond to rumors.”
El Khalfi’s response comes after a program aired by Israeli television channel 13, which reported that Bourita met with Prime Minister Netanyahu September 2018 in New York on “the sidelines of a UN General Assembly.”
The rumors are also on the heel of allegations that Netanyahu was preparing to conduct an official visit to Morocco. The Moroccan government, however, denied the news.
The majority of Moroccans criticize any move towards normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel.
Dozens of activists went to Parliament in Rabat to protest against any normalization of Moroccan relations with Israel in February, 2019.