Last July, the National Museum Foundation of Morocco (FNM) announced the opening on the horizon of a museum dedicated to Jewish culture in Morocco.
Last month, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, launched the construction of the project which “will be established in an old school located near the Mellah and the Jewish cemetery of Fes”. The budget for the construction of the museum amounts to 10 million dirhams (924,000 euros).
“Creating this place of memory in a cradle of Moroccan civilization, where the imprint of Moroccan Judaism has been most striking, shows the plan of the sovereign to see that all currents that have irrigated Moroccan civilization are present,” Serge Berdugo, Secretary General of the Council of Israelite Communities in Morocco, told the press at the launch ceremony.
“This museum of Jewish culture will have a symbolic role of great value on the outside and will allow people who come from all over to see how, for hundreds of years, Jews and Muslims lived peacefully in Morocco and created a art of living together,” he added.
Mehdi Qotbi, president of the National Museum Foundation, described the project as “exceptional”. “Morocco is sending a strong message to the world that coexistence between Moroccans and all other religions is a reality. After the message of peace that was the visit of the pope, Morocco, under the leadership of the king, is sending a message to the world, because we need this message for the diffusion of peace and love between beings and between cultures.”
In July, the FNM also announced the restoration in the city of Fez of the Al Batha Museum, dedicated to the arts of Islam.
Currently, there are already two Jewish museums in Morocco: the Museum of Judaism and El Mellah Museum, both located in Casablanca. They are the only two Jewish museums in the Arab world.
Last September, in a message to the UN round table on the role of education in preventing racism and anti-Semitism, Mohammed VI said that the kingdom considered “Jews as Moroccan citizens having the the same equal and complete rights as their Muslim brothers”.
Estimated today to less than 3,000 souls, the Moroccan Jewish community remains the largest in the Arab-Muslim world. Israeli tourists who come in the footsteps of their ancestors are welcome.
Morocco has an even more special position since the preamble to its constitution refers to its “Hebrew tributary”, that Moroccan Jews have held ministerial positions, and that Mohammed VI, like his father before him, has one of his advisers – André Azoulay.
It is under the royal impetus that have been conducted in recent years programs to renovate Jewish cemeteries and urban neighborhoods where once lived this community which had 200,000 to 300,000 members before the waves of departure related to the creation of Hebrew State in 1948 and the country’s independence in 1956.
In 1948, after the creation of the State of Israel, more than 90,000 won the Promised Land.
The second wave of immigration came with the independence of Morocco in 1956, the departure of the French authorities then representing a threat to the security of the Jewish population.