Participants in a conference held Sunday in Casablanca to commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, praised the major role of the Moroccan King, Commander of the faithful, in promoting the values of peace, tolerance and inter-religious dialogue.
They also hailed the Sovereign’s efforts to preserve the cultural and religious heritage of the Moroccan Jewish community. The participants lauded the Royal vision and the efforts made by the Monarch for the preservation of the Moroccan-Jewish heritage and the modernization of the management of the daily affairs of the Jewish community.
They said that the Royal vision has helped strengthen the ties of the expatriate Moroccan Jews with their motherland, citing in this regard the King’s decision to set up three institutions making Hebrew one of the components of the plural and diverse Moroccan culture.
The National Council of the Moroccan Jewish Community ensures the management of the community’s affairs and aims to safeguard the Jewish cultural and religious heritage and its authentic Moroccan values through ad-hoc regional committees.
The Committee of Moroccan Jews Abroad is tasked with strengthening the ties of Moroccan Jews living abroad with their country of origin, while the Foundation of Moroccan Judaism is entrusted with promoting and supervising the intangible Jewish-Moroccan heritage.
The Royal initiatives also include the rehabilitation and restoration of Jewish worship sites, neighborhoods, sanctuaries and cemeteries. The moves, which have been praised worldwide, confirm Morocco’s tolerance and co-existence, while the world is rocked by chauvinism and intolerance.
During the event, held at the Beth El Synagogue, participants recalled the actions of late King Mohammed V and late King Hassan II in defending and protecting Moroccan Jews against the Nazi regime during the French colonization.
On the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day organized by Mimouna Association, the Council of Jewish Communities of Morocco (CCIM) and the UN Information Centre in Rabat, the president of the association, El Mehdi Boudra, lauded the actions of late King Mohammed V for the protection of Moroccan Jews against the oppression under the Vichy regime.
He lauded the “courage of late King Mohammed V, who did not give in to the pressures of the Nazis”, noting that the Mimouna Association, which was founded at Al Akhawayn University by a group of young Muslims, aims to raise awareness among young people of the Jewish-Moroccan cultural heritage.
For his part, Secretary General of the CCIM, Serge Berdugo, highlighted the bravery of late King Mohammed V, who challenged and stood up against the evil plans of the Vichy regime, though the Kingdom was under French and Spanish occupation.
Mr. Berdugo recalled the suffering endured by Moroccans, both Muslims and Jews, during the period of colonization, adding that the Royal Palace, despite all the pressures defended the rights of all Moroccans, including the Jews, and protected their property.
For her part, Israeli Liaison Office chief in Rabat, Alona Fisher Kamm, said she proud of participating in this event which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, adding that it is an opportunity to remember this suffering in order to raise awareness against the danger of hatred and racism.
She highlighted in this regard the actions made by the Royal Family over the centuries for the protection of Moroccan Jews.
U.S. ambassador to Morocco, Puneet Talwar, said late King Mohammed V showed courage against the Nazis to protect Moroccan Jews during this difficult period in the history of humanity, noting that the same pathway has been followed by the late King Hassan II and King Mohammed VI.
Morocco stands out as a “model” in the region and the whole world, which is currently facing a rise in hatred and violence, underlined the U.S. diplomat.
Nathalie Fustier, Resident Coordinator of the UN Development System in Morocco, also commended the key role played by late King Mohammed V and King Mohammed VI in the protection of Moroccan Jews.
The UN official also praised Morocco’s role in promoting inter-religious dialogue, combating violence and hatred between different religions.
On this occasion, prayers were declaimed by participants to preserve King Mohammed VI, commander of the faithful, and all members of the Royal Family. Prayers were also declaimed for late King Hassan II and late King Mohammed V.
This conference was attended by minister of national education Chakib Benmoussa, President of the National Foundation of Museums, Mehdi Qotbi, Governor of the Prefecture of Casablanca-Anfa, Aziz Dades, and several students and actors of the civil society.