Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Israeli army, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi, begins this Monday, July 18 a three-day visit to Morocco. This trip should make it possible to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries after the resumption of their diplomatic relations at the end of 2020.
But relations between Israel and Morocco go back further than that. The two countries have maintained secret military ties for decades, and Israeli tourists could visit Morocco. Relations grew closer once the Oslo accords were signed, and were interrupted with the outbreak of the second intifada and renewed when Morocco became the fourth country to join the Abraham Accords.
In the calendar of the commander-in-chief of Tsahal, it is undeniable that he should meet for talks and even more, the minister delegate in charge of the administration of Defense, Abdellatif Loudiyi and the General of army corps and Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR), Belkhir El Farouk. But not that, since accompanied by a delegation of senior military officials, General Aviv Kohavi, as part of the strengthening of Israeli-Moroccan security ties, should also meet with dignitaries from the Security of the Kingdom. The Jewish Community of Morocco will not be outdone and several meetings are planned with its members and Aviv Kohavi.
This is the first official visit of an Israeli Chief of Staff to Morocco. It follows that of Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and now Prime Minister of Israel. Other visits then continued at a steady pace, further strengthening the rapprochement between the Kingdom and the Jewish state, such as that of Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked last June. These visits all ended with the signing of partnerships in the technological, security, military, economic and cultural fields.
Just last Friday, Israel’s transport ministry said it was working with Moroccan intermediaries to allow the Allenby Bridge border crossing, which separates the West Bank and Jordan, to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 7. Transport Minister Merav Michaeli and her office “are in contact with US, Palestinian and Moroccan officials regarding the opening of the Allenby Bridge border crossing that separates the West Bank and Jordan 24 hours a day, seven days a week“, said the ministry in a press release.
Discussions that have progressed with Joe Biden’s visit to the region this week, the ministry said. Last March and still within this framework of cooperation, a delegation from the Israeli army made its first official visit to Morocco since the normalization of bilateral relations. It resulted in the signing of a military cooperation agreement with the creation of a joint military commission. It’s because Israel and Morocco have a long history of security and diplomatic cooperation. Over the years, Israel has sold Morocco an array of weapon systems ranging from drones to cyber weapons.
Nice to know and for example, in 2014 the Kingdom purchased three Heron drones made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for $50 million. The Heron can stay aloft for 45 hours and reach an altitude of 35,000 feet. They are currently used to fight the Polisario separatists, who are venturing a little too close to our territory. Last November, the IAI sold Harop drones to Morocco.
Unlike drones developed for surveillance or attack that are designed to return home once their missions are complete, the IAI Harop is a “vagabond ammunition” drone, better known as a “suicide drone”. Not to be limited to that, at the beginning of the year last February, IAI provided Morocco with the Barak MX, an integrated system to counter a wide range of aerial threats ranging from helicopters and planes, to drones and missiles. cruising.
The sale agreement which includes among other radar systems manufactured by IAI subsidiary Elta Systems and an anti-drone system manufactured by Skylock in Morocco of the Barak MX, is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars and was concluded during the visit to the country of the Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz. The agreement includes the sale. In addition, other projects such as modernization of F-5 fighter planes of the Moroccan Air Force, cooperation or training. And on that last note en July 2021, a Moroccan Hercules cargo plane carrying special forces commandos landed at Israel’s Hazor Air Base as part of an international counterterrorism exercise in which the two countries were participating alongside the United States.