New York, NY, January 12, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed reports of a royal order by King Mohammed VI of Morocco to restore the Jewish names of a historic neighborhood in Marrakesh.
According to reports, King Mohammed VI instructed the concerned local authorities to restore the original Jewish names of the streets and squares in the historical district of Al Mellah in the old city of Marrakesh after a royal visit to the area which was recently renovated as a historical landmark. The King met with members of the Moroccan Jewish community who expressed their disappointment with attempts to blur the Jewish history of the city by removing original names of various locations.
“As one of the Arab world’s most revered leaders, King Mohammed’s order to restore Jewish names of the historical neighborhoods in Marrakesh demonstrates his commitment to protecting and preserving the Moroccan Jewish heritage,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “This decision prioritizes the royal family’s historical commitment to recognize the contribution of the Jewish community in Morocco and sends a strong message of tolerance that we hope will echo across the Muslim world.
“In a region with alarming levels of anti-Semitism, this step may help to set the record straight about some of the injustice faced by the Jews who lived in Arab countries,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “Other countries in the region should follow Morocco’s lead and take strong steps to promote and celebrate interfaith understanding and coexistence.”
A poll in 100 countries commissioned by ADL in 2014 found that 74 percent of those surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.