Morocco’s Islamist Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane inaugurated the reopening of a historic synagogue in the city of Fez Wednesday, conveying the wish of Morocco’s King Muhammad VI that all the country’s synagogues be refurbished and serve as centers for cultural dialogue.
Benkirane, head of the Justice and Development party, wore the traditional Moroccan Fez and a white robe at the reopening ceremony of the seventeenth century Slat Al Fassiyine (Prayer of the Fesians) synagogue, where he read out a congratulatory message by King Muhammad VI, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.
From its peak of over 250,000 during the late 1940s, the Jewish community of Morocco has shrunk to less than 5,000 today. Most Jews left the country during the 1950s and 1960s following the establishment of Israel, with the remaining community members mostly concentrated in Casablanca.
According to local media, Benkirane conveyed the King’s praise for the historic influence of Jews in Moroccan culture and his commitment to protect Jewish freedom of religion.
The synagogue will serve as a cultural center focusing on interfaith dialogue.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.