While Jews played a marginal role in the
nationalist struggle, the new Government's
constitution assured equality between Jews and
Muslims. Jews began to take the place of French
in administration. Three Jews were eventually
elected to Parliament, including a rabbi from the
heavily-Jewish town of Sefrou. Jews were found in
high posts in the Administration and industry.
The appointment of a Jewish Minister of Posts and
Telegraphs was a symbol of the Jewish community's
Nevertheless, the fact that emigration to Israel
was forbidden in 1956 did not inspire the
confidence of Moroccan Jews in their Government.
A secret emigration network was established,
enabling 35,000 Jews to leave the country until
emigration to Israel was legalized in 1961.
In February 1961, Morocco's Jews joined Muslims
in a National Day of Mourning for King Mohammed
V. Despite the efforts of his successor, King
Hassan II, to make Jews feel welcome and an
integral part of the Moroccan nation, emigration
continued, to Israel until 1964 and then mainly
to France and Canada.
The dwindling Jewish community remained proudly
Moroccan. Jews participated and contributed to
the success of the Green March in 1975, when
350,000 Moroccans marched into the former Spanish
Sahara to reclaim it for their country.
King Hassan II has been a strong proponent of
peace and reconciliation in Israel and Palestine.
He has organized several conferences to address
vital issues, such as Jerusalem and investment in
the Middle East. At crucial and strategic times,
he has shown courage in meeting publicly with
Israeli leaders such as Shimon Peres and Yitzhak
Rabin. Throughout his period of leadership, he
has invited the Jews of Moroccan descent, of
which there are approximately 600,000 in Israel
and almost 250,000 in France, to return to
Morocco. While few have returned to live, tens of
thousands visit each year. Many of the remaining
6,000 Jews have strong links with family members
outside of the country, but believe that they
would not feel at home anywhere else in the world
SITES OF JEWISH
INTEREST - Casablanca