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Moroccans are among the 70,000 tourists from Muslim countries that visited Israel in 2018

According to data made public by the Israel’s Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration, a record number of visitors, form Muslim countries that have no diplomatic ties with Israel, traveled to Tel Aviv in 2018.

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Eilat airport. / Ph. DR

A record number of tourists, from Muslim countries that have no ties with Israel, visited the Jewish state in 2018, local online newspaper The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

Quoting data released, May 6, by Israel’s Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration, the same source revealed that around 55,000 nationals, including Moroccans, from Muslim nations with no formal ties with Tel Aviv visited Israel during the same year.

According to the Israeli agency, 72.109 travelers from Muslim countries in total flew to Israel last year. This number includes nationals from Egypt and Jordan, two Muslim countries that have formal diplomatic relations with the Israeli entity.

The list, provided by the Israeli agency, includes visitors from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

«These numbers mark an increase of 15% from the previous year, when 62.658 tourists from the aforementioned countries traveled to the Jewish State», the Israeli newspaper noted.

2,108 Moroccan nationals visited Israel in 2018

Figures published by the Israeli agency suggested that 2,108 Moroccans traveled to Tel Aviv in 2018. This number makes Morocco top the list of Muslim countries, with no ties with Tel Aviv, to visit the Jewish state.

Moroccan tourists were followed by Tunisians 949, Qataris 81, Omanis 56, Algerians 36, Kuwaitis 34, Emiratis 25 and Saudis 6.

The same source revealed that tourists from Muslim countries, that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel, while making their way into the Jewish state, ask Population and Immigration Authority officials to «not stamp their passports», to avoid questions when returning to their countries.

Moreover, Israeli officials «stamp a separate slip of paper that the visitors can throw out when they leave», the newspaper revealed.

Data made public by the Israeli Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration is one of the many reports that target Muslim countries that have no ties with Israel.

Normalizing ties with Israel

In March, the Israeli Foreign Ministry conducted a «controversial» poll, asking people from the MENA region if they were interested in their countries having relations with the Hebrew state.

The results of the study, were quite «unpredictable» as 75% of Arab respondents said that «ties with Israel can be beneficial to their countries».

The poll, which included 1000 people from each of these Middle Eastern countries, revealed that 41% of Moroccans said that «they are in favor of ties with Israel».

For the record, Israel has announced before that it is ready to normalize relations with Arab countries, including Morocco. Circulated rumors suggested that Netanyahu held a secret meeting with Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita.

Quoting a source close to the Israeli Prime Minister, Israeli media reported that the two officials discussed ways of «normalizing ties and arranging a visit» in New York.

Reports on Bourita and Netanyahu’s «secret meeting» came as the Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA) announced that Netanyahu’s office «hopes to arrange several meetings on the sidelines of the anti-Iran meeting in Warsaw, including interviews with Moroccan FM Nasser Bourita». However, Nasser Bourita ended up not attending the meeting held, February, in Warsaw (Poland).

Earlier in February, reports emerged suggesting that Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting Morocco in March. The Government’s Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi commented on these reports, stating that they are just «rumors».

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