The Israeli newspaper “Haaretz” stated, on August 10, that the new direct airline service between Essaouira and Tel Aviv, scheduled to be inaugurated in September, is an excellent example of the concretization of the cultural and historical ties between Morocco and Israel.
In an article written by a researcher at the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policy, “Mitvim,” Einat Levy, the newspaper stated that, in addition to the economic aspect, this new airline reflects the history of a city that has conquered the hearts of Israelis.
“It also embodies the importance of culture in political action, as well as the power of emotions in creating and building the bridges to which the Middle East aspires,” adds the media outlet, noting that Essaouira is considered a prosperous urban center with a large Jewish community.
The article added, in this regard, that “consequently, the flow of tourists from Israel to Essaouira and Morocco is seen as a movement of passion going beyond nostalgia or ephemeral desire and constitutes an emotional force that directs and encourages displacement towards spaces of belonging, namely home, family, society, and culture.”
The article’s author pointed out that Essaouira has always been an attraction for Israelis thanks to the policies implemented by the Kingdom, notably the recognition of the Hebrew component as an integral part of Moroccan heritage.
Levy also recalled the process of restoring Hebrew heritage sites, the establishment of Bayt Dakira (House of Memory), inaugurated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the creation of the Hebrew Law Chair, and the organization of the Atlantic Andalusian Festival since 2003, noting that all of these components enable visitors to experience the Andalusian Golden Age in its contemporary version, with the participation of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian artists.
The researcher pointed out that Essaouira has successfully transformed its cultural assets into sources of urban development, shedding light, particularly on the Gnaoua Music Festival, which has successfully altered the city’s character by encouraging the tourist industry and boosting services.
The author noted that the establishment of direct flights between Tel Aviv and Essaouira thus testifies to the importance of cultural and civil ties in boosting relations between Israel and Morocco, stressing that culture is the driving force behind political action and helps to build trust and strengthen common roots and the sense of belonging.
The newspaper concludes that Essaouira is always linked to His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s Advisor, André Azoulay, who was born and raised in the city and has never ceased to firmly believe in its ability to become a beacon of coexistence and cultural pluralism in the region.