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JNF Forest to Honor Moroccan Monarch

A Jewish National Fund forest of 10,000 trees has been dedicated in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood in honor of King Mohammed V of Morocco, who died in 1961. The late king is revered by North African Jews for courageously refusing their deportation to Nazi Germany during World War II. Mohammed was the father of the reigning monarch, Hassan II.

The forest is being planted by the JNF at the initiative of the Association of North African Immigrants in Israel. Former Moroccan Jews now living in Israel began six years ago to think of an oppropriate memorial for the king, who insisted that all his subjects were equal and refused Jewish deportation.

Some of the Moroccan Jews discussed the project with the present king, who reportedly also has a favorable attitude towards his Jewish subjects, despite censure from fellow Arab leaders on policies relating to Jews and Israel. The Moroccan Jews proposed that a forest bearing his name be planted in Jerusalem and, according to JNF, the king silently acquiesced. Five pine and cypress trees are to be taken by former Moroccan Jews to Hassan’s royal courtyard for planting.

The Immigrants’ Association raised about $10,000 in Israel, France and Canada. Contributions also came from former Moroccan Jews and various enterprises. The money was donated to JNF, the agency responsible for afforestation and land development in Israel.

The dedication was attended by the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Interior Minister Yitzhak Peretz, and guests from France and Canada.

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