Morocco is preparing to receive Israeli Merkava tanks, never marketed by the Israeli army outside the country. Only Morocco and Cyprus will be able to benefit from it.
The Moroccan army will strengthen its armament with tanks capable of destroying armored vehicles at a distance of eight kilometers.
The tanks in question had been relegated to reserve by the Israeli army when the new model of this armored vehicle was introduced.
The Moroccan army should receive the Merkava Mark 2 and Merkava Mark 3 version, downgraded since 2016 for the Merkava 4 introduced in 2003. An agreement must still be signed in the coming months to make the purchase a reality.
With this purchase Morocco should be the first foreign country to possess these Merkava equipment, which are the main battle tanks of the Israel Defense Forces.
The Merkava was first launched in Israel in the 1980s, and this equipment is expected to be refurbished and upgraded for possible export to Morocco and Cyprus.
This arms deal is a new development that continues to demonstrate the close cooperation between Morocco and Israel since the Abraham Accords concluded under the auspices of the United States more than two years ago.
The information was revealed by the Israeli press before being relayed by the Spanish press. The head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s International Cooperation Directorate, Yair Kulas, told The Jerusalem Post that Jerusalem was in talks with two countries for the potential sale of the armored vehicles.
He also explained that this contract obeyed the will of this department to yield the surplus equipment of the Israel Defense Forces.
This new arms contract between the two countries testifies to the solidity of the ties between Morocco and Israel, which decided in mid-January to expand military cooperation between the two countries “to include intelligence, air defense and electronic warfare”, following a meeting of a joint commission in Rabat.
The security agreement between Rabat and Tel Aviv also included “cooperation in the field of defense industry and technology transfer”.
A statement from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, published by the official news agency, indicates that Rabat and Tel Aviv have agreed to expand their military cooperation, to include intelligence, air defense and electronic warfare, following a joint committee meeting in Rabat.