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Israel relations

Israeli carrier launches first direct flights to Morocco

Published: Updated:

Israeli carrier Israir launched the first direct commercial flight between Israel and Morocco on Sunday since the countries normalized diplomatic relations in a US-brokered deal last year.

About 100 passengers were on the flight that departed from Tel Aviv to Marrakesh, Israir spokeswoman Tali Leibovitz told AFP, adding that two to three flights per week were planned on the route.

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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said last week that he would visit Morocco shortly after the Israir service was launched.

Morocco was one of four regional states to normalize ties with Israel in 2020, along with Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.

The move came as the administration of former US president Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed and divided former Spanish colony.

Morocco is home to North Africa’s largest Jewish community, which numbers around 3,000. Some 700,000 Jews of Moroccan origin live in Israel.

Rabat had a liaison office in Tel Aviv but relations came to a halt during the 2000-2005 second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Read more:

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid to visit Morocco next month

Israeli carrier Israir to start flights to Morocco in July, after improvement of ties

Israel, Morocco set up working groups to boost ties after normalization