Moroccan Senior Official Receives “Highest Civilian Honor”.

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Andre Azoulay, a Senior Advisor to the Moroccan king, received the “Presidential Medal of Honour” from Israel’s president Isaac Herzog for his assistance in securing the Abraham Accords, the Israeli Presidency stated on Sunday.

“His vision of establishing friendly and peaceful relations between Israel and Morocco was realized in the Abraham Accords and his influence is evident in every area of these relations,” the Presidency statement said. 

The 82-year-old statesman was awarded in the category of people “who made a unique contribution to the Jewish people.” He has served in office since the late King Hassan II’s reign.

“He made an extraordinary contribution to the Jewish world and Moroccan Jewry and the State of Israel in cultivating and preserving relations with Morocco over the years, (…) providing support and advice to Israeli leaders in their quest for peace in the Middle East,” according to an official announcement.

Since its creation in 2012, Andre Azoulay, a Jewish-Moroccan, will be the first senior official from North Africa to receive Israel’s “highest civilian honor.”

In a press announcement published late on Sunday, the Moroccan national news agency MAP verified the information and emphasized Azoulay’s dedication to the two-state solution throughout his career.

According to MAP, Azoulay founded the “Identity and Dialogue” movement while he was a student in France, making it the first diaspora organization composed of Jewish intellectuals to advocate for a Palestinian State coexisting peacefully with Israel.

“Andre Azoulay and his friends were among the first to contact the PLO. In an unprecedented and courageous dynamic that was widely criticized in the Jewish world at the time,” stated MAP’s press release.

The Moroccan official will attend the prize presentation in September in Jerusalem together with twelve other honorees, including former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler.

Under US supervision, Rabat restored diplomatic connections with Tel Aviv in late 2020. The palace stressed in a statement in March that “His Majesty has the constitutional prerogative to determine the foreign policy of the kingdom” in the face of growing criticism of the state’s choice. 

However, in spite of the normalization, the North African Kingdom still frequently affirms that the Palestinian cause is “one of the priorities of its foreign policy.” 

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