Moroccan minister seeks to preserve onetime Jewish schools

(JTA) — The Moroccan government announced plans to preserve and renovate buildings that once served as Jewish schools.

The Muslim nation’s education minister, Mohamed El Ouafa, presented the plan on Dec. 18 at a meeting in Rabat with Marc Eisenberg, president of the Alliance Jewish education network.

The first phase of the plan is to place plaques in front of each of the buildings, according to the French-language Moroccan newspaper Le Matin. The minister said the plan would “allow present and future generations to learn about the shared history the Jewish and Muslim communities of Morocco and the cohesion between those two communities.”

Spurred on by a succession of pogroms, including in Oujada and Jerada, some 250,000 Moroccan Jews left the North African country between 1948 and 1967. Many settled in Israel, although Zionism was outlawed in Morocco in 1959 and defined a “serious crime.”

Morocco ended that official animosity in the late 1980s and has maintained ties with Israel since then.

“The minister underlined the links of coexistence and understanding that always prevailed between the Jewish and Muslim communities of Morocco,” the paper reported.

Today, only some 3,000 Jews live in Morocco, according to the European Jewish Congress. The children attend a handful of Jewish schools, which are also attended by some Muslim pupils, according to Le Matin. 

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