Moroccan and Israeli representatives met to celebrate Hanukkah and the establishment of ties between the two countries.
Rabat – The ambassadors of Morocco to the US and the UN met with their counterparts from Israel on Thursday to celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah.
Morocco’s Ambassador to the US Lalla Joumala El Alaoui met with her Israeli counterpart, Ron Dermer, in Washington, D.C.
The Israeli ambassador gifted El Alaoui an ancient Hanukkah menorah, which the Jewish community in Morocco used for centuries. The menorah is a ceremonial Jewish candelabra lit during Hanukkah, a religious holiday that began this year on December 10 and ends today, December 18.
At the UN in New York, Morocco’s Ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale attended a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony Thursday evening at the invitation of Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the UN, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“Hanukkah is to exist together; Hanukkah is to love one another,” said Hilale while lighting the eighth candle of the ceremonial menorah. “Hanukkah is to reject violence; Hanukkah is building bridges between people and civilizations… It is the understanding that we have in our hearts.”
He continued by emphasizing the role of Judaism in shaping Morocco’s history.
“Hanukkah is not a strange tradition in my country,” Hilale said. “The Jewish people are part of our society, our religion, our people [and] our history.”
Alluding to the decision of Morocco and Israel to reestablish diplomatic relations, Hilale said “there is no alternative to peace.”
“We are all sons of Abraham,” he continued, referring to the principles and traditions Islam and Judaism share. “[Sons of Abraham] will always sit together at the end of the day to make peace together and build a future together for the next generation.”
The Israeli ambassador to the UN stressed the deep ties between Morocco and the Jewish people. For thousands of years, Jewish people have found a home in Morocco and continue to do so today.
By reestablishing relations, Morocco and Israel have renewed this historic relationship, said Erdan.
The renewed relations between Morocco and Israel fulfill “the dream of many Israelis of Moroccan origin who remain proud of their roots and have a great love for the country. For many years, these Jews served as a bridge between us, this bridge is now reinforced.”
The Hanukkah celebrations come just over a week since news broke of Morocco and Israel’s decision to reestablish ties, under the US “Abraham Accords.”
The re-established ties include the reopening of liaison offices, trade relations, and the launch of direct flights between the two countries.
To mark the development, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will take the first commercial flight from Israel to Morocco next Tuesday, December 22. Delegations from the US and Israel are set to accompany him.
Israeli journalist Simon Arann said Wednesday that a delegation of Moroccan officials may soon visit Israel, as well. Such a gesture is to be expected, as the UAE and Bahrain sent delegations to Israel after normalizing ties with Tel Aviv.