In Morocco, we trust our King

By Andrew Rosemarine, March 3, 2011
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The president of the Jewish Community of Marrakech-Essaouira, Jacky Kadoch, has insisted that there is no reason for the Jewish community to fear the unrest in the country.

Over 37,000 people protested across the country this week, calling for "the overthrow of autocracy" and ransacking government buildings, banks and commercial centres.

Despite the upheaval, Mr Kadoch said: "The situation is stableā€¦ The King is listening, and has reform projects on his desk, ready to be implemented. As loyal citizens of the King, we Jews have every confidence in him."

Mr Kadoch said that the country's shuls remain open and "no damage has been done to any of our
property".

However, antisemitic slogans have been shouted in Essaouira against Andre Azoulay, the Jewish economic adviser to the King. "It was at his suggestion that our community handed over our Talmud Torah building to the municipality for the use of underprivileged youth; yet antisemites have seized the opportunity afforded by the demonstrations to speak out against him. We Jews are not worried by the unrest, but we need to remain vigilant."

At around 5,000-strong, the Jewish community in Morocco, is, in general, the happiest of any in the Arab world.

Since Mohamed VI's grandfather came to power in the 1920s, the royal family has looked after its Jews, even to the extent of defying the Nazis' request to hand them over. Jews are free to worship, and synagogues are protected by armed guards.

    Last updated: 2:20pm, March 3 2011