Jewish women attending the Hiloula of Saint Rabbi Amran Ben Diouane near Ouazzane, Morocco

Emigration to Israel was not the result of a strong commitment to political Zionism. Instead, it was based on the fear of possible violence, the hope of finding more lucrative employment and the despair of the poor.

Jews emigrating from the Amazigh areas of the South appeared to be pawns of the Jewish elite, and their fate was the result of negotiations by the elite and the State with Zionist groups and Israel.

Zionist emissaries helped create a climate of fear between Jews and Muslims based on both fact and fiction. Israel manipulated the messianic feelings of the rural Jews. In the face of increasing poverty and a second-class status in Moroccan society, these Jews were offered the hope of social improvement in Israel.

Belying the claim of Zionist recruiters that they had saved the lives of Moroccan Jews, those Jews who remained were able to maintain their culture and communities and live in safety. Many middle-class Jews left for France and Canada in the 1960s, rather than move to Israel.

Tragically, it was not only mass emigration that prevented the complete integration of Jews into independent Morocco. Although Mohammed V and his descendants were genuinely committed to protecting the Jews, the nationalist movements and later the Moroccan political parties never offered Jews a meaningful political role in independent Morocco.