Israeli President Isaac Herzog Awards His Majesty’s Advisor André Azoulay Presidential Medal of Honor

Israeli President Isaac Herzog awarded, on July 2, the Presidential Medal of Honor to His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s advisor, André Azoulay, who is renowned for his landmark commitment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians and to a two-state solution where sovereignty, dignity, and justice are equally important to both peoples.

Azoulay’s lifelong challenge has always been rooted in and determined by his Moroccanity and his way of going through his history, identity, and different responsibilities.

The most important and emblematic of his commitments was probably in 1973, when Azoulay created, in Paris, the Identity and Dialogue Movement, a pioneering Jewish organization whose charter of creation emphasizes the absolute necessity of giving a chance to the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, with his Jewish Moroccan and Sephardic intellectual friends.

Azoulay and his friends were among the first to have direct contact with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), as he met for the first time in 1974, in the Spanish city of Toledo, Abu Mazen, then Yasser Arafat’s closest collaborator, which was considered a courageous, unprecedented, and widely criticized move in the Jewish world at the time.

Clandestine but no less regular, these contacts were, for several years, the basis for the first negotiations between the Israeli peace camp and Palestinian leaders.

At the time, Yasser Arafat had appointed the late Issam Sartawi, the great Palestinian leader assassinated in Lisbon during a meeting of the Socialist International, as a permanent contact for André Azoulay of Identity and Dialogue.

In a similar context, Azoulay’s commitment reflects in providing Moroccan Jews, in Israel, Morocco, France, Canada, and just about everywhere else in the world, with the opportunity to reconcile with their history and reappropriate their heritage and civilization at spiritual, philosophical, and moral levels.

Azoulay has often recalled in his writings and declarations that the central and overriding objective of the Identity and Dialogue component is to break the constraints of post-colonial cultural alienation, which had driven a large part of the Moroccan Jewish community to turn its back on its three-thousand-year-old history, thus risking to cut the thread of its identity and origins.

This period, which was a period when Moroccan Jews changed their names and places of birth, is long gone, as the reference to one’s Moroccan identity is now a source of pride for almost all Moroccan Jews who have reconciled with themselves.

Whether an activist or a leader, André Azoulay has always acted and advanced with the support of the late His Majesty King Hassan II and His Majesty King Mohammed VI in their capacity as Chairman of al-Quds Committee. This consultation, respect, and guidance have been Ariadne’s thread through which André Azoulay’s commitments have grown and reinforced.

Today, André Azoulay personifies a Moroccan identity, rich in diversity, modernity, and the exemplary ethics of citizenship open to all humanities which are confronted elsewhere with doubt, withdrawal, and the most archaic regression.

Previous recipients of the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor include American Presidents Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama and several eminent figures such as Henry Kissinger and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

error: Content is protected !!