TEL AVIV (May. 13)
A 35-member Israeli delegation arrived today in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, to attend the first national conference of Moroccan Jewish communities. Delegations from the United States and France will also be in attendance. The Conference, which begins today, will conclude tomorrow.
The Israeli delegation arrived in Rabat via Paris, where they obtained their Moroccan visas. They were invited with the consent of King Hassan, who suggested that the conference be transferred from Fez, its original venue, to Rabat where he is staying at the moment.
The delegation, comprising Knesset members, academics, mayors and Israel journalists, told Israel Radio by phone today that the Knesset members were listed as such on the agenda of speakers and that Rabat newspapers front-paged the report on the conference and the inclusion of the Israeli delegation.
Delegation members said they hoped to have an interview with Hassan, and there are reports that the Knesset members will invite the King to visit it Israel.
DELEGATIONS FROM THE U.S. AND FRANCE
According to reports from the United States, an American delegation will be led by Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, who will deliver an address at the meeting. Aside from Egypt’s Morocco’s Jewish community is the only member of the WJCongress from an Arab country.
Rep. Stephan Solarz (D. NY), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will also be in the American delegation, as will Stephan Shalom, treasurer of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and his wife, Liliane Shalom, chairman of the Board of the American Sephardi Federation.
French Jewry will be represented by Simone Veil, former President of the Parliament of Europe, and Robert Badinter, Minister of Justice in the government of President Francois Mitterrand, among others.
WIDE-RANGING SIGNIFICANCE SEEN
Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed, the son of Hassan, is scheduled to address the closing session of the conference. Observers believe the meeting has potentially wide-ranging significance in terms of progress toward Arab-Israel peace.
Conference members recalled that the seeds of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty were sown in Morocco when Moshe Dayan met with Hassan and a representative of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to discuss the possibility of a visit to Israel by Sadat. The Egyptian President subsequently made his historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977.
The Jewish population of Morocco today numbers about 25,000. A network of Jewish welfare and educational institutions continues to operate, with governmental approval and support plus funds from the JDC. About 300,000 Moroccan Jews emigrated to Israel following the establishment of the Jewish State.