בנמין נתניהו, מלך מרוקו מוחמד ה-6
Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: AFP, Ohad Zwigenberg
Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu pushing for campaign-boosting visit by Moroccan king

Sources say Morocco's Mohammed VI is conditioning visit on meeting with Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah; officials say he will refrain from trip before March 23, assuming PM will use him for election propaganda

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 01.26.21 , 14:00
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the National Security Council are in talks with Morocco in order to coordinate a visit by King Mohammed VI to Israel in the coming weeks, possibly immediately following the reopening of Ben-Gurion Airport, according to sources.
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  • The sources also said that the king has conditioned his arrival on visiting the West Bank city Ramallah and meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    בנמין נתניהו, מלך מרוקו מוחמד ה-6
    בנמין נתניהו, מלך מרוקו מוחמד ה-6
    Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photos: AFP, Ohad Zwigenberg)
    Netanyahu is pushing for the visit in an effort to give himself and his Likud party a boost in the run-up to the March 23 election, as the monarch is a beloved figure among many in Israel's Moroccan Jewish community.
    Sources in Jerusalem said that there is no certainty that the king will agree to arrive before March 23, knowing that Netanyahu will use him for election propaganda.
    "There are talks and attempts, but I find it hard to see this happening," said one official.
    "We know that Balfour [the prime minister's official residence] and the NSC want this to happen, but it is uncertain they will manage to pull it off before the election. Although the king might change his mind and make a surprise visit."
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    פגישת מאיר בן שבת וג'ארד קושנר עם מלך מרוקו מוחמד השישי
    פגישת מאיר בן שבת וג'ארד קושנר עם מלך מרוקו מוחמד השישי
    National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat and former White House aide Jared Kushner meeting with King Mohammed VI in Rabat in December
    (Photo: GPO)
    On Sunday, the government officially approved the normalization agreement with Morocco in a unanimous vote, although it also needed ratification from Knesset.
    Israel is set to open a liaison office in Rabat in the coming weeks, which will be headed by veteran diplomat David Govrin, who previously served as ambassador to Egypt.
    Morocco is now renovating an office building in Tel Aviv, which will be used as its mission in Israel. The office was supposed to open at the end of January, but that was delayed due to the lockdown.
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