A plane bearing the Israeli and Moroccan flags prepares to take off from Tel Aviv to Rabat, December 2020

Israeli carrier Israir to start flights to Morocco next month

Airline says six-hour non-stop flights between Tel Aviv and Marrakesh would begin on July 19, operate five times a week; move comes six months after two countries agreed to resume diplomatic ties and relaunch direct air travel

Reuters, Ynet |
Published: 06.01.21 , 15:01
Israeli carrier Israir said on Tuesday it would start flights from Tel Aviv to Marrakesh next month following an improvement of ties in recent months between Israel and Morocco.
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  • Israir said the six-hour nonstop flights would begin on July 19 and operate five times a week.
    "We estimate that the demand will be high and hundreds of thousands of passengers from Israel will visit the destination as part of vacation packages or as part of the organized trips," said Israir's vice president of marketing, Gil Stav.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    טיסה ישירה ראשונה בים ישראל למרוקו
    טיסה ישירה ראשונה בים ישראל למרוקו
    A plane bearing the Israeli and Moroccan flags prepares to take off from Tel Aviv to Rabat, December 2020
    (Photo: Sivan Faraj)
    Israel and Morocco agreed in December to resume diplomatic ties and relaunch direct flights - part of a deal brokered by the United States that also includes Washington's recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
    Morocco was home to one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East for centuries until Israel's founding in 1948.
    As Jews fled or were expelled from many Arab countries, an estimated quarter of a million left Morocco for Israel from 1948-1964.
    Today only about 3,000 Jews remain in Morocco, while hundreds of thousands of Israelis claim some Moroccan ancestry.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    אוהדי כדורגל ישראלים עם אוהדי נבחרת מרוקו במונדיאל
    אוהדי כדורגל ישראלים עם אוהדי נבחרת מרוקו במונדיאל
    Israeli and Moroccan soccer fans embrace at the 2018 World Cup in Russia
    (Photo: Amir Peleg)
    In March, Moroccan Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui said she expects 200,000 Israeli visitors in the first year following the resumption of direct flights.
    That compares with about 13 million yearly total foreign tourists before the pandemic. Tourism revenue fell by 53.8% to 36.3 billion dirhams ($3.8 billion) in 2020.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Morocco's King Mohammed VI is seen at Essaouira's 'House of Memory' in January 2020
    Morocco's King Mohammed VI is seen at Essaouira's 'House of Memory' in January 2020
    Morocco's King Mohammed VI, center, visiting the 'House of Memory' monument to Jewish-Muslim harmony, Jan. 2020
    (Photo: AFP)
    Israeli flag carrier El Al has said it also hopes to start flights to Morocco in July and was awaiting final approval.
    More than other countries in the region where the issue is often taboo, Morocco has sought in recent years to recognize the Jewish role in its history.
    In 2010, it launched a program to restore synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and heritage sites, and reinstated the original names of some Jewish neighborhoods.

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