Updated: May 3
Israelis have roots all over the globe -- and Morocco is no exception. Delicious food, lively culture, music, and beautiful traditions -- keep reading for more about Moroccan Israelis!
The second-largest Jewish Israeli population is the Moroccan Israelis! There were some Moroccan settlers who came to Israel in the early 1900s, but the main migration happened in the 1950s, due to conflict in the region. There was a lot of tension between Jews and Arabs then. By 1973, almost all Moroccan Jews had moved to Israel. Surprisingly, there are still nearly 3000 Jews in Morocco, which can't be said for neighboring countries.
Moroccans have influenced so much culture in Israel. Their weddings, for example, are stereotypically loud, joyous, overflowing with food and drink, and are preceded by something called a "henna." The henna is like the party before the party! The bride and her family and friends come together and use henna, a dye, on the bride's palms to bless her. Of course, there is great food and music, and often traditional dress is worn (long, colorful, and bedazzled tunics.)
Another tradition is "Mimouna" which is a feast celebrated after Passover ends. It's not really clear where this originated, but we know it's been happening since the 1700s, and probably before that too! The starring food of the Mimouna is mufletta which is a pancake-like treat that is served with honey, butter, fruit, or Nutella. This is a huge and delicious celebration!
We of course have to touch on Moroccan food! If you ask us, Moroccan food is the best. Particularly, their salads (salatim) are beyond amazing. You can attend a Moroccan meal and they will come out with 20 fresh, colorful, sweet, and spicy salads, and that's just the first course! Moroccan fish (chraimae) is also a staple on Shabbat -- spicy and juicy, it goes oh so well with challah.
We love that Moroccan culture is so vivid, lively, and spicy, of course. This culture definitely helped shape Israel as we know it. And now that there is a peace agreement between Morocco and Israel, Moroccans can visit here, and Israelis can visit Morocco. Such exciting times!