The national company Royal Air Maroc (RAM) announced the launch of an air link connecting the economic capital Casablanca to Tel Aviv, the first direct line to Israel, ten months after the normalization of relations between the two countries.
This new link will be operational from December 12, RAM said in a statement. It “meets the expectations of the Moroccan community established in Israel which has strong links with its country of origin”.
“It also aims to allow tourists, as well as businesswomen and men, to travel to Morocco or Israel,” the company added in the statement.
RAM will offer three flights per week, before going “in a short time” to five.
The announcement comes three months after the launch of commercial flights from Israel to Morocco, followed shortly after in August by the first official visit of Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid to the kingdom.
Morocco is the fourth Arab country to have announced in 2020 the normalization of its relations with Israel – after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – in return for an American recognition of its “sovereignty” over the former Spanish colony of Sahara.
Morocco’s Jewish community, present since ancient times, is the largest in North Africa (around 3,000 people). And nearly 700,000 Israelis of Moroccan descent have often kept very strong ties to their country of origin.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the estimated 50,000 to 70,000 tourists who came from Israel each year, many from Morocco, had to transit through other countries.
Morocco and Israel maintained official relations from 1993 to 2000, when the second intifada broke out in the Palestinian Territories against the Israeli occupation.