Direct flights from Israel to Morocco are now available.
Since normalizing diplomatic relations in an agreement mediated by the United States last year, Israeli carriers began the first direct commercial flights between the Jewish state and Morocco on Sunday.
An Israir flight from Tel Aviv to Marrakesh carried about 100 people, according to airline spokesperson Tali Leibovitz, who added that two to three flights per week were planned on the route.
El Al, Israel’s national airline, later reported that it, too, had started a service to Marrakesh on Sunday, with five flights per week to both Marrakesh and Casablanca.
According to an El Al release, Israel’s Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov stated the service will increase “trade, tourism, and economic cooperation between the countries” at a ceremony sending off the El Al aircraft, which was accompanied by Moroccan envoy Abderrahim Beyyoudh.
Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, stated last week that he would visit Morocco soon when direct flights began.
Morocco, along with Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates, was one of four regional countries to normalize relations with Israel in 2020.
Former US President Donald Trump’s administration recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed and split former Spanish province.
Morocco is home to the largest Jewish community in North Africa, with a population of over 3,000 people. In Israel, there are around 700,000 Moroccan-born Jews.
Rabat maintained a liaison office in Tel Aviv, but relations were strained during the second Palestinian intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2005.
The Palestinians have called the normalization treaties between Arab governments and Israel a “betrayal,” believing that the process should only begin when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.