Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech > Marcin Sochanki, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz has said that Israel hopes for its renewed ties with Morocco to develop into a deep and robust relationship with longer staying power.

Speaking after a two-day visit to Rabat, where he signed an extensive memorandum of understanding with Morocco, Gantz noted that his trip was not only an official state visit but was entirely open and received local news coverage.

“I suggest we not be cynical about this”, Gantz said. “I think having an open, official visit by a defence minister, including exposure in the press, with public events – this is something that is unprecedented and highly significant for the security of Israel and for its foreign relations”.

Gantz also visited the Talmud Torah synagogue in Rabat and met with local Jewish community leaders while in the north African kingdom, alongside Moroccan-born MK Ya’akov Margi.

The trip was the first by an Israeli defence minister to Morocco, and saw Gantz meet with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Loudiyi.

The Israeli-Moroccan memorandum of understanding formalised the two countries’ security ties and improved intelligence-sharing capabilities, as well as facilitating military and defence collaboration in the future.

“The Moroccans have many challenges in defending their borders against missiles and in the area of drones”, an Israeli defence official said. “We want to help them fight terror”.