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Morocco will teach Jewish history in public schools — and king approves

Jewish history and culture will be included in the Arabic-language curriculum for Moroccan primary school students.

The decision, approved by Morocco’s king, Mohammed VI, is an effort to “perpetuate the Judeo-Moroccan legacy as an integral part of the Moroccan identity,” according to a joint statement from the American Sephardi Federation and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“Ensuring Moroccan students learn about the totality of their proud history of tolerance, including Morocco’s philo-Semitism, is an inoculation against extremism,” said the joint statement.

King Mohammed VI has a long history of close ties with Morocco’s Jewish community. In January, he was present at the inauguration of a new Jewish community center, Beyt Dakira, in the old city of Essaouira.

The space was described as a “house of history and memory” by Andrey Azouley, the Jewish advisor who championed the project. It is home to a synagogue, museum and research center on Jewish-Islamic relations.

Though once the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world, today only about 2,000 Jews live in Morocco, most in the country’s economic center, Casablanca. The coronavirus pandemic hit the community particularly hard after after an outbreak at a Purim party and Jewish wedding in March.


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