Israel awards Moroccan King's adviser Andre Azoulay highest medal of honour
Israel's president Isaac Herzog will award the Moroccan king's senior adviser Andre Azoulay with the "Presidential Medal of Honour" for his role in cementing the Abraham Accords, announced the Israeli Presidency on Sunday.
"His vision of establishing friendly and peaceful relations between Israel and Morocco was realised in the Abraham Accords and his influence is evident in every area of these relations," the Presidency statement said.
The 82-year-old statesman, who has been in office since the rule of the late King Hassan II, will be awarded in the category of individuals "who made a unique contribution to the Jewish people."
"He made an extraordinary contribution to the Jewish world and Moroccan Jewry and the State of Israel in cultivating and preserving relations with Morocco over the years, (...) providing support and advice to Israeli leaders in their quest for peace in the Middle East," according to an official announcement.
Andre Azoulay, a Jewish-Moroccan, will be the first senior official from North Africa to receive Israel's "highest civilian honour" since its creation in 2012.
The Moroccan state news agency MAP confirmed the news late on Sunday in a press release that emphasised Azoulay's commitment to the two-state solution since his early years of activism.
During his studies years in France, Azoulay established the "Identity and Dialogue" movement, the first organisation in the diaspora to be formed consisting of Jewish intellectuals calling for a Palestinian State living in peace side by side with Israel, according to MAP.
"Andre Azoulay and his friends were among the first to reach out to the PLO. In an unprecedented and courageous dynamic that was widely criticised in the Jewish world at the time," stated MAP's press release.
The Moroccan official is set to attend the award ceremony in September in Jerusalem along with twelve other recipients including Canada’s Former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler.
Late in 2020, Rabat normalised ties with Tel Aviv under the US auspices. Amid rising opposition to the state's decision, the palace released a communiqué last March stressing that "the foreign policy of the kingdom is a prerogative of His Majesty under the Constitution."
Nevertheless, despite the normalisation, the North African Kingdom continues to regularly reaffirm its commitment to the Palestinian cause as "one of the priorities of its foreign policy."