The first direct commercial flight between Israel and Morocco landed in Marrakesh today, more than seven months after the two countries normalized diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by the United States.
About 100 passengers from Tel Aviv on an Israeli flight arrived in the early afternoon, and were greeted with dates, cake and mint tea, at a welcome party held in their honor.
Israel spokeswoman Tali Leibovitz said two to three flights per week were scheduled. El Al, the carrier of the Israeli flag, also announced that it launched a communication line with Marrakesh today, and five weekly flights are scheduled to Marrakesh and Casablanca.
Morocco was one of four regional countries that agreed to normalize relations with Israel last year, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. The decision came when the administration of former US President Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, the disputed and divided former Spanish colony.
Morocco is home to the largest Jewish community in North Africa, numbering around 3,000 people. About 700,000 Jews of Moroccan descent live in Israel. Between 50 and 70,000 tourists annually traveled to Morocco from Israel via third countries before the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, many of them of Moroccan origin.
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