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In op-ed published by Moroccan news outlet, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz lauds normalization, bilateral relations

The general said his most important battle has been for that of peace

Defense Minister Benny Gantz arrives in Rabat to sign defense agreements between the two countries, Nov. 24, 2021 (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Ministry of Defense)

During a two-day trip to Morocco in which he and his counterpart signed historic defense agreements, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz published an opinion piece in two different Moroccan publications.

The experienced military general told the Moroccan people that his most important battle has been for that of peace.

“I fought in dozens of military operations, but I never forgot that the most important battle of all is the battle for peace and stability,” he wrote. “This can only be achieved if we stay strong, strengthen our relations with our allies.”

He lauded the Abraham Accords and the subsequent developments and agreements that have been produced after just over a year of normalization between four Muslim nations and Israel. Morocco joined the accords in December 2020.

“Considering the recent positive developments, I am confident that we will work with our Moroccan friends, and with the leadership of our great ally the United States, to strengthen Israel’s relations with Jordan, Egypt, the members of the Abraham Accords, new partners in the region as well as with our Palestinian neighbors,” he wrote. 

The editorial was published in two publications during the minister’s two-day visit to Morocco – in French on the cover of the Moroccan magazine, L’Observateur Du Maroc and in an Arabic newspaper, Ahdath Maghribia.

This was the first official visit by an Israeli defense minister to the North African state. On Wednesday, Gantz signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Moroccan Minister Delegate for the Administration of National Defense Abdellatif Loudiyi, paving the path to formalized bilateral defense relations between Israel and Morocco.

The MOU, which is the first of its kind between Israel and an Arab state, includes close cooperation in a wide range of fields, such as industry, intelligence and military training.

"Our partnership is vital against the challenges that threaten regional and global peace. Both our countries face the challenges of fundamentalist terrorism, border, and aerial threats. The framework that we have determined in the MOU, will provide us the means to cooperate in order to defend our nations." 

Gantz also touched on Israel’s biggest security challenge: “The State of Israel is particularly concerned by Iran’s regional aggression and its nuclear aspirations. I am taking this opportunity to emphasize the importance for global action against Iran – as it is not just a challenge for Israel. It is first and foremost a global and regional challenge.” 

He envisioned himself telling his grandchildren “about the day that we made history by establishing defense relations between our countries.”

“I will tell them that although many associate Israeli-Moroccan ties with the groundbreaking Abraham Accords, our story began long ago – and it is entrenched in the heritage of the Moroccan Jewish community,” he wrote.

“Israel and Morocco are celebrating the history of our shared communities. Our tourism is flourishing, and people-to-people relations are growing. Our economic cooperation is bearing fruit for both our nations. Now is the time to work together to counter developing threats, to ensure that our nations can prosper in peace and stability.”

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Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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