Sports diplomacy: for the first time, a Morocco-Israel basketball match

The Moroccan women’s basketball team hosted its Israeli counterpart on Wednesday for a friendly match, a first in the framework of sports cooperation since the diplomatic normalization between Morocco and Israel at the end of 2020.

This is the first time – in basketball – that an Israeli national team has faced an Arab team in their country, according to the website of the Israel Basketball Federation (IBBA).

The Moroccans beat the Israelis after a tight match (62-58), disputed in a gymnasium in Salé, near Rabat, in front of a limited number of spectators, around 200 people, at the invitation of the Moroccan Federation, noted an AFP journalist.

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This exhibition match was organized on the sidelines of a framework cooperation agreement signed Tuesday in Rabat between the Royal Moroccan Basketball Federation (FRMBB) and the IBBA in order to develop sports exchanges, according to a press release.

The agreement notably provides for the organization of tournaments and friendly matches at all levels and the participation of Moroccan coaches in advanced training courses in Israel.

But this partnership described as “historic” is above all a matter of “sports diplomacy” after the normalization of bilateral relations between the two countries.

It is “in the spirit of the ‘Abraham Accords’ and is in line with the desire of the two countries to build the future within the framework of multidimensional cooperation”, underlined the Moroccan Minister of Education. and Sports, Chakib Benmoussa, quoted by the Moroccan press agency MAP.

Israel and Morocco restored diplomatic relations in December 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords, a process of normalization between the Jewish state and several Arab countries, supported by the former US administration of Donald Trump.

Since then, the rapprochement between the Cherifian kingdom and the Jewish state has continued at a steady pace, with visits and the signing of partnerships in the technological, security, military, economic and cultural fields.

And if the Palestinian question continues to gather the sympathy of the Moroccan population, the normalization of relations with Israel has hardly raised any massive protests.

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