Morocco Royal Armed Forces commander makes first visit to Israeli military sites as ties strengthen
A Royal Moroccan Armed Forces senior commander has made his first visit to Israel and its military sites, an Israeli army spokesperson this week.
Moroccan artillery inspector General-Major Mohamed Benouali toured military sites in Israel as part of a "framework to strengthen corporation and coordination between the two countries’ armed forces" and to "get closely acquainted with the military field challenges of the Israeli Artillery Corps", said Avichay Adraee, the Israeli army’s senior spokesperson for Arabic-language media.
Both Adraee and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces posted the statement on social media, accompanied by the two countries’ flags, the hashtag #StrongerTogether, and several photographs documenting Benouali’s visit.
#StrongerTogether 🇲🇦🇮🇱 https://t.co/qxQMgR57lU— Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (@MoroccanArmed) February 16, 2023
It is unclear from the statement when exactly the visit took place, or its duration.
Morocco and Israel have steadily been developing military ties since the two countries signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020 to establish diplomatic relations.
In September, Moroccan Lieutenant Belkhir el-Farouk was the first Arab military official to make a public visit to Israel, participating in the International Operational Innovation Conference organised by the Israeli army.
In July, then-Israeli army chief Aviv Kochavi visited Morocco and met with el-Farouk, with their discussions including "opportunities for military cooperation, both in exercises and training, as well as in the operational and intelligence fields".
Morocco reportedly purchased 150 unmanned drones from Tel Aviv following the visits.
Morocco and Israel have also signed trade, tourism and science deals since agreeing to normalise ties.
Morocco was one of a handful of Arab states to normalise relations with Israel through the Abraham Accords, along with Bahrain and the UAE.
The Arab states’ normalisation of relations with Tel Aviv sparked anger in Palestine and across the Arab world, with the move decried as "stab in the back" as Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and east Jerusalem and besiege the Gaza Strip.