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A beautiful friendship

Israeli social media influencers promote dialogue in Morocco

Marking 2 years since normalization, Arab and Jewish content creators visit in bid to build a ‘bridge between people, opinions and cultures’

A view of the medina, or old city, of Marrakech, with the Atlas Mountains in the distance. (photo credit: Michal Shmulovich)
A view of the medina, or old city, of Marrakech, with the Atlas Mountains in the distance. (photo credit: Michal Shmulovich)

A group of Israeli influencers boasting more than 45 million followers collectively were in Morocco this week to mark two years since the normalization of ties between the countries.

The group, called “Influencing Peace,” included prominent Jewish and Arab content creators in the fields of music, sport, fashion, science and comedy.

During the trip, organized by the Foreign Ministry and the Office for Regional Cooperation, the influencers spent time engaging with Moroccan content creators, with both parties documenting the encounters for their followers.

The Israelis were in Morocco during the country’s soccer World Cup victory over Canada, and some uploaded footage of the celebrations to their accounts. Many of the clips went viral on Moroccan social media, garnering hundreds of comments expressing positivity toward the group of Israelis, along with negative reactions.

Eviatar Ozeri, who has nearly half a million Instagram followers, said that from the moment he arrived in the North African country, he was recognized by locals.

“Already at the airport, the young policeman who checked my passport said he recognized me from TikTok and was excited that I was in Morocco,” Ozeri said.

@riwareslan

@idanmatalon #marocco #marakesh

♬ צליל מקורי – Riwa raslan

“The next day, followers of my channel from Marrakech recognized me in the market and asked for photos. I was able to make people happy even here. It’s a great honor to represent Israel with positive content that makes people happy.”

Ido Daniel, who led the delegation on behalf of the Foreign Ministry, underscored the “unique” connection between Israelis and Moroccans, and lauded the “long-term collaborations and relationships” forged between creators.

“It is a privilege for us to create the conditions for a bridge between people, opinions and cultures with posts on Instagram and Tiktok videos — this is the essence of the power of social networks.”

Another influencer, Lebanese-born Riwa Aslan, uploaded a video alongside Idan Matalon in both Arabic and Hebrew, informing followers of both channels of their presence in the country.

@idanmatalon

Replying to @Jin???????? ????????????????

♬ original sound – Idan Matalon

In another of Matalon’s videos, he addressed the online reaction, saying he “understands” the negative comments, but invited Arab-language social media users to “understand better about Israel,” and highlighted the shared history of Morocco and the Jewish people.

Morocco’s Jewish community is the biggest in North Africa, with some 3,000 still living in the kingdom. A further 700,000 Israelis are descended from Moroccans and have kept strong links with the country.

The initiative comes two years after Morocco’s normalization of ties with the Jewish state as part of the Abraham Accords brokered by former US president Donald Trump’s administration.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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