An Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation traveled to Morocco to investigate allegations of a series of financial embezzlement and sexual crimes at the newly opened Israeli mission in Rabat, including accusations that a senior official sexually exploited several women in the country.
Details of the investigation, first reported by the Kan public broadcaster on Monday, were confirmed to the Hebrew-language Zaman Yisrael website. Times of Israelby the Ministry.
The Ministry’s Inspector General, Hagai Behar, made an emergency visit to Morocco last week after making allegations against the head of the mission, David Govrin, over serious complaints about the functioning of the mission, which opened last year.
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The most serious complaint was that a “high-ranking Israeli official” in the mission had sexually abused several women, which could lead to a serious diplomatic incident with Morocco. There were also complaints of sexual harassment within the mission.
The ministry is also investigating a series of financial and administrative issues, including the disappearance of a valuable gift sent by the King of Morocco on the occasion of Israel’s Independence Day. These gifts must be declared and handed over to the government, but the object appears to have disappeared without a trace being recorded.
They were also investigating reports that a local businessman and Jewish community leader, Sami Cohen, a friend of Govrin, was involved in hosting several Israeli ministers, including Yair Lapid, Ayelet Shaked, and Gideon. He marched, and in arranging meetings between them and local officials, though he was in no way formally associated with the expedition.
The team was also investigating a reported feud between Govrin and the expedition security officer.
Morocco became the third Arab country to normalize relations with Israel under US-brokered deals in 2020, joining the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The Israeli liaison office in Rabat was closed at the end of 2000, when Morocco decided to end the low-level relations that had existed between the two countries with the outbreak of the second intifada. Although the liaison offices in the two countries were closed about 20 years ago, the assets remained in their respective properties, enabling Jerusalem and Rabat to quickly reopen.
Initially, Morocco and Israel will maintain liaison offices in their countries, but they plan to establish full embassies in the future.
Recent months have been marked by a series of high-level visits by Israeli officials to Morocco and the two countries have signed a series of economic, cultural, and defense cooperation agreements.
Govrin, 58, is an experienced diplomat and has worked in the ministry since 1989. He is fluent in Arabic and served as ambassador to Egypt from 2016 to August 2020.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this article.
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