The head of Morocco’s senate, Enaam Mayara, will make an official visit to Israel’s parliament on Thursday, the Knesset’s spokesperson’s office said Sunday.
Mayara’s trip will mark the first visit by a Moroccan leader to Israel’s legislative body, as well as being one of the most high-level visits by a foreign Muslim politician to Knesset.
Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, who formally invited President of the Moroccan House of Councillors Mayara, said the trip is “a precedent-setting visit that attests to the new era that has been created in Israel-Morocco relations.”
The Moroccan senate head’s visit will follow reciprocal relationship-building moves taken by Israel in the past months. Critically, in July, Israel recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, over which Rabat has battled rebels.
In June, Ohana made a Knesset speaker’s first visit to Morocco’s parliament, and a delegation of Israeli lawmakers visited the Kingdom this summer. as part of a broader parliamentary forum.
Ties with Morocco, normalized in 2020 under the Abraham Accords, have had upsets. In June, Rabat canceled its plans to host this summer’s Negev Forum in protest over Israeli settlement announcements. The gathering of foreign ministers from Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt and the US has been postponed several times since it was first slated to be held in March, in light of rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and some Arab leader discomfort with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government.
However, Ohana, himself the son of Jewish immigrants from Morocco, said that Mayara’s visit expresses a “hopeful reality, which teaches us about the possibilities of expanding the circles of peace in the Middle East.”
In addition to leading Morocco’s senate, Mayara is the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, an umbrella organization representing regional legislatures. A number of lawmakers are accompanying him on a regional visit, and will also meet with Ohana.