| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Moroccan king congratulates Israel’s new prime minister

Moroccan King Mohammed VI sent congratulations to Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, at a time when Hamas’ political chief Ismail Haniyeh  was visiting  the country for discussions on the Palestinian cause.

The message sent by King Mohammed VI congratulated Naftali Bennett on becoming Israel’s first new leader in 12 years after the coalition government he cobbled together ousted long-serving leader Benjamin Netanyahu this week.

Morocco will “continue its efforts to promote peace, justice and coexistence in the Middle East, which will ensure security, stability and brotherhood for all peoples living side by side”, said the king’s correspondence.

“Warm greetings and best wishes for great success,” said the letter, which was quoted  by Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

Morocco has North Africa’s largest Jewish community of about 3,000 people, and Israel is home to 700,000 Jews of Moroccan origin.

It became the fourth Arab state last year, along with the United Arab Emirates, Sudan , and Bahrain, to normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.

Palestinians have condemned the agreements, calling them a betrayal of a longstanding position that Israel first meets their statehood demand before achieving normalisation.