Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana began his visit to Rabat, Morocco, by putting on tefillin and reciting the shema prayer in the Rabbi Shalom Zaoui Synagogue, where his father prayed before making aliyah to Israel.
Ohana met members of the Jewish community there and told them that he was excited to meet them and to visit the place where his father grew up. "It is a great privilege for me to be here today and to sit in the chair where my beloved father sat and recited his daily prayers in front of this Holy Ark, longing to reach one place in particular, in the Land of Israel and Jerusalem. I believe with all my heart that the root of our connection as a people and with it, the connection of myself and my family, to the Land of Israel, is found here among the prayer pages and the unique poems, which demonstrate the longing for Zion."
"From my father's memories of the synagogue, I learned about the concept called "pure faith" - a complete faith without conditions, which in his eyes symbolized all those of his generation, including those who prayed with him in the synagogue. We can say with confidence that this pure faith won out and thanks to it, many members of the glorious Moroccan community came to Israel, including my parents. Even many years after they left, the synagogue was miraculously preserved thanks to the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, who sees great importance in nurturing and preserving Jewish life in the kingdom," he added.
"There is no doubt that I feel at home here; the warmth, the language, the heartfelt hospitality, they all remind me of the synagogues we have in Be'er Sheva. In my opinion, if it were possible to move the synagogue as it is for its worshipers tomorrow to the neighborhood of that city, no one would notice and life in the synagogue, its poetry and music would continue as usual," the Knesset Speaker said.
In response to the explanations of his hosts about the importance of the synagogue as a significant element in the life of the local community in the past, present and future, Ohana said that "in this synagogue my father absorbed Zionism, and from there he passed it on to me and from me to my children. Thus, from generation to generation, the dream of the generations to return to Zion continued until it came true, we are blessed to be among the generation that lived the dream."
Ohana shared with his hosts that as part of the visit, he is expected to meet tomorrow with his Moroccan counterpart, Speaker of the House Rachid Talbi Alami, with the chairman of the Morocco-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group and with other members of the House of Representatives.
The Speaker of the Knesset and his hosts are also expected to make statements to the media and even sign an official memorandum of understanding, the purpose of which is to develop inter-parliamentary cooperation for the strengthening of relations between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco. In addition, during his visit, Morocco is expected to meet with senior officials in the Moroccan government as well as with the heads of the Jewish community in the kingdom
Ohana is the highest-ranking Israeli official to visit Morocco since the Kingdom normalized relations with the Jewish State in 2020.