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December 24, 2015 3:24 pm

Moroccan King Honored Posthumously for Protecting Jews During WWII

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King Mohammed V of Morocco and his family in 1954. The king was honored by KIVUNIM: The Institute for World Jewish Studies on Sunday. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

King Mohammed V of Morocco and his family in 1954. The king was honored by KIVUNIM: The Institute for World Jewish Studies on Sunday. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – King Mohammed V of Morocco was honored by KIVUNIM: The Institute for World Jewish Studies on Sunday for protecting 250,000 Jews during World War II. His granddaughter, Princess Lalla Hasna received on his behalf the inaugural Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.-Rabbi Abraham Heschel Award at the B’nai Jeshurun congregation in New York City.

In the early 1940s, Jews were protected from discrimination and annihilation from pro-Nazi Vichy forces, when Morocco was under French rule.

“We are living at a time and in a world in which the collective imagination of our societies is too often impaired, not to say poisoned, by regression and archaism. By capitalizing on the depth and resilience of the legacy left by my revered grandfather His Majesty Mohammed V, we can, together, set out to recover the lost expanses of reason and mutual respect which have vanished from many parts of the world,” André Azoulay, royal advisor to King Mohammed VI read in a speech on behalf of the current king.

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  • LSK

    André Azoulay is Jewish. He is an advisor to His Majesty King Mohammed VI who is perhaps the strongest supporter of Jews amongst Muslim rulers today.

    Please engage something beyond superficial “sound bite journalism” devoid of context.

    The following took me about two minutes to find via Google…

    “Morocco is perhaps Israel’s closest friend in the Arab world. King Hassan often tried to be a behind-the-scenes catalyst in the Arab-Israeli peace process. In July 1986, he hosted Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in an effort to stimulate progress. Two months later, Hassan met with a delegation of Jews of Moroccan origin, including an Israeli Knesset member. In 1993, after signing the agreement with the PLO, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin paid a formal visit to Morocco.

    In May 1999, King Hassan organized the first meeting of the World Union of Moroccan Jews, in Marrakech.

    In April and May 2000, the Moroccan government sponsored a series of events and lectures promoting respect among religions.7 Andre Azoulay, royal counselor and a leading Jewish citizen, spoke about the need for interfaith respect and dialogue. In October 2000, two Moroccan youths tried to vandalize a Tangiers synagogue. King Mohamed VI publicly declared in a televised speech on November 6, 2000, that the government would not tolerate mistreatment of Morocco’s Jews. The youths were subsequently sentenced to one year in prison.8

    On May 16, 2003, a series of suicide bombers attacked four Jewish targets in Casablanca, and a fifth attack was made against the Spanish consulate. No Jews were hurt in the attack because it occurred on Shabbat when the buildings were empty of Jews. Twenty-nine Muslims were killed. Though the bombings affected the Jewish sense of security, they were viewed by most Moroccans as assaults on the country’s social and political order, and a test of the young king’s power, rather than an act of anti-Semitism. King Mohammed VI visited the site of one of the attacks the day it occurred and urged the Jewish community to rebuild. The government subsequently organized a large rally in the streets of Casablanca to demonstrate support for the Jewish community and the king reasserted his family’s traditional protection for the country’s Jews.9”