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December 12, 2022 5:19 pm

Israeli Cast in Morocco Performs First Hebrew Play in Arab Country

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Part of a hall at Habima National Theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel on Feb. 21, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Amid warming ties between Israel and Morocco, a Hebrew-language play was performed in the North African kingdom’s capital, Israeli media reported Saturday.

The play, Bustan Sephardi (Spanish Orchard), was written and composed by Yitzhak Navon, Israel’s fifth president. It centers on the life of a Sephardic family in 1930s Jerusalem and also uses Ladino, a language spoken by some Sephardic Jews.

While Navon’s father side was Sephardi, his mother immigrated to Israel from Salé, Morocco, according to the couple’s son Erez, who described the show’s staging in Rabat as the closing of a circle.

Mohammed VI, the king of Morocco, was invited to the performance, but could not attend due to scheduling conflicts. Erez was accompanied by an advisor of the king to visit a mausoleum in which Mohammed V of Morocco is buried.

It was the first time a Hebrew play was performed on stage in the Arab world, Channel 12 reported. The performance was carried out by a cast from Israel’s national Habima Theater in Tel Aviv, and was accompanied by captions in French, which a portion of Moroccans speak due to the country’s time as a French protectorate.

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