Israel Launches First Direct Flights to Morocco

An Emirati official stands near an air-plane of El Al, which carried a US-Israeli delegation to the UAE following a normalisation accord, upon it's arrival at the Abu Dhabi airport in the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to the UAE, on August 31, 2020. - A US-Israeli delegation including White …
KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty

Seven months after the Trump administration brokered a normalization deal between Morocco and Israel, the first direct commercial flights between the two countries launched on Sunday.

Flights to Marrakech departed from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport via Israeli carriers Israir and El Al. The flights take just over five hours, half the average time of indirect flights.

“The Israel – Morocco route is an important and significant line that will help promote tourism, trade and economic and political cooperation agreements between the two countries. All of these will enrich the state coffers and help our war on the cost of living,” Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said.

Flight attendants wore Fez hats and kaftans and passengers were served traditional Moroccan food aboard the flight.

“We hope that now many can know Morocco better, to experience and be excited by this special country that is deeply rooted in Israeli heritage, culture and experience,” said El Al CEO Avigal Sorek, noting the national carrier aimed to increase the Tel Aviv-Marrakech route from three to five times a week.

Israel and Morocco agreed to restore ties as part of the “Abraham Accords,” following the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Even before the normalization agreement, many Israeli Jews with Moroccan heritage visited the North African country.

More than 300,000 Jews emigrated from Morocco to Israel in the decades following the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. Around 3,000 Jews live in Morocco today, the majority of which are in Casablanca.

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