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Panama’s Chief Rabbi Hails HM the King’s Vision of Inter-religious Coexistence

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Panama – The Chief Rabbi of Panama’s Jewish community, David Perets, said HM King Mohammed VI’s vision of promoting coexistence between different religions is “worthy of appreciation and emulation,” praising the Sovereign’s laudable and sustained efforts in this regard.

In a statement to MAP on the occasion of an evening in the Panamanian capital to celebrate the Hiloula feast of Rabbi Isaac Bin Walid (1777-1870), one of the most eminent rabbis of the Sephardic community who is buried in Tetouan, Perets said that through the institution of the Commandery of the Faithful, HM the King is the supreme representative of the Nation and the symbol of the unity of all religions.

He added that HM the King “has become a symbol and a model throughout the world” given his pioneering role in consolidating the values of peace and coexistence, stressing that the Sovereign’s high concern for Moroccans of the Jewish faith is “an effort worthy of recognition”.

He also praised the “distinguished” efforts of the Kings of Morocco to protect their citizens of the Jewish faith, recalling in this regard the categorical refusal by the late HM Mohammed V to introduce anti-Jewish laws at the time of the Vichy regime and his refusal to hand over Moroccan Jews to the Nazi regime during the Second World War, the contribution of the late HM Hassan II to the promotion of rapprochement and peace in the Middle East and inter-religious dialogue.

“Our parents tell us about the wisdom and courage shown by the late HM Mohammed V and his position towards the Vichy regime when he refused to hand over Moroccan Jews at a time when neighboring countries, as well as the European States, did not have the same wisdom,” he said.

Perets added that among HM King Mohammed VI’s most remarkable achievements are the inclusion in the preamble of the 2011 Constitution of the Hebrew heritage as a component of national identity and his significant efforts to rehabilitate Morocco’s Jewish heritage.

Referring to the efforts of HM the King to restore Jewish synagogues and cemeteries and preserve the Judeo-Moroccan heritage, the Chief Rabbi of Panama said: “I have personally witnessed these initiatives in Fez, Essaouira, and Marrakech in particular. I couldn’t hold back my tears when I visited the neighborhood in Marrakech where my father was born and saw how it has recovered its former name,” he underlined.

The Chief Rabbi also highlighted the attachment of Moroccan Jews to their country of origin, Morocco, by ensuring regular visits and preserving Moroccan customs and culture during their celebrations abroad, stressing that this attachment reflects a “special relationship unique in the world”.

For his part, Rabbi Yahia Assouline, grandson of the Chief Rabbi of Taroudant, David Ben David Barroukh, commended, in a similar statement, the continued concern of the Kings of Morocco for Moroccan Jews inside and outside the Kingdom.

Assouline, who was born in 1952 in Casablanca, recalled the atmosphere of peace and harmony in which Jews lived alongside Muslims in Morocco, in accordance with the wishes of the late HM Mohammed V, stressing that Moroccan Jews continue to visit the homes of their fathers and grandfathers in the Kingdom to this day.

(Agence Marocaine de Presse)

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