The king of Morocco is sponsoring a series in Paris highlighting Moroccan Judaism past and present.
“The Moroccan Jewish Journey,” two weeks of of conferences, films and concerts, was organized by two French Jewish centers, the Community Center of Paris and the Rambam Center. Other organizers include Fathallah Sijilmassi, the Moroccan ambassador in Paris, and Andre Azoulay, a leading adviser to King Mohammed VI.
In Paris Sunday, the opening night of the series, Sijilmassi earned long applause when he said, “Moroccan Judaism cannot be disassociated from overall Moroccan identity.”
Israeli labor leader Amir Peretz, a native of the beleaguered city Sderot, offered, “Today, Moroccan Jews can hold their heads high in Israel, which was not always the case.”
In the 1940s, some 350,000 Jews lived in Morocco, the largest Jewish population in the Arab world. Some 4,000 now live in the country, nearly all in Casablanca.