The representative of Melilla's Jewish community denies having been urged to invest in Morocco

The president of the Jewish community in Melilla denied that members of the community were advised to invest in Morocco as reported recently.

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Days after Spanish reports suggested that the Jewish community in Melilla, Ceuta and Gibraltar had received calls from «the advisor» of King Mohammed VI to invest in northern Morocco, the representative of the Jewish community in Melilla brought a different version of the story.

Jaime Azancot denied the reports, calling them «fake news». «If it would have been true, it would have been dealt with in a different way, with a big attention from Moroccan media», he argued. Quoted by local online newspaper Melilla Hoy, Anzacot said he «asked businessmen in the city and in Ceuta and that they have all said that they were not contacted».

However, well-informed sources confirmed to Yabiladi that Jaime Anzacot's predecessor is himself one of the investors supposedly contacted regarding the same topic. The former president of the Jewish community in Melilla, Salomon Benzaquen Cohen also runs businesses in both the Spanish enclave and in Madrid. He would support the idea of investing in Morocco, stressing that another investor from the same community has already ventured in investing in Nador.

Spanish media reveals the name of the adviser

Three days after these declarations, newspaper El Español indicated that the objective of Morocco, through this approach, was to «develop a commercial area with import and export customs close to borders and ports». In addition, this would allow Ceuta and Melilla to switch more to tourism entrepreneurship and cruise destination projects.

Contrary to the declarations reported by Anzacot, the newspaper spoke to businessmen from the Jewish community who confirmed having been advised to invest in northern Morocco. The same newspaper even mentions the name of the royal adviser in question, who is said to be André Azoulay.

«A Jewish businessman, who sells and exports shoes in Melilla» said that he «received a call» on Friday June 12. According to him, the call was from «a member of the royal palace» who would have offered him the possibility of investing in Morocco with tax facilities, and assistance with infrastructure. The same entrepreneur would have been offered «contacts to export from Morocco» to other African countries. The same source spoke of a beer distributor in Melilla also said to have been contacted.

In the Spanish enclaves, many members of the Jewish community are from the regions of northern Morocco and southern Spain. For their part, the leaders of the two cities complain about the closure of the economic borders, decided by Rabat in 2018. This context could strengthen the prospecting efforts undertaken by Morocco.

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