The head of Morocco’s senate, Enaam Mayara, will not make a historic visit to Israel’s parliament as previously planned, according to a statement from the Knesset on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Knesset’s office said Mayara was scheduled to visit Israel on Thursday. However, the North African leader is currently being hospitalized in Jordan for a health condition that prevents him from making the official visit to the Jewish state.
“I am sorry that because of a medical emergency, I am unable to come to the Knesset,” the statement quoted Mayara as saying.
Mayara has been hospitalized since Tuesday when his health began to decline, though the Knesset did not say what was ailing the senate leader.
The momentous trip would have marked the first time a Moroccan leader has visited Israel’s parliament, a result of several efforts by Israel to build stronger, more formal ties with the North African country.
In July, Israel recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of the Western Sahara.
Earlier in the summer, Israel’s Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, the son of Jewish immigrants from Morocco, was the first head of Israel’s parliament to visit Morocco’s legislature, and a group of Israeli lawmakers also visited the region.
On Sunday, Ohana said Mayara’s visit represents a “hopeful reality, which teaches us about the possibilities of expanding the circles of peace in the Middle East.”
Ties between Israel and Morocco normalized in 2020 under the Abraham Accords but have experienced a series of setbacks ever since.
Rabat, the capital of Morocco, canceled its plans to host this summer’s Negev Forum in an act of protest against the expansion of Israel’s settlements.
Israeli-Palestinian tensions, as well as opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government reform, have also negatively impacted the developing relationship between Morocco and Israel.
Several meetings between foreign ministers from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt and the United States have been postponed repeatedly since March.
Mayara also serves as the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, an organization consisting of representatives from regional legislatures, several of which are set to accompany him on his visit, as well as meet with Ohana.
Mayara’s visit would mark one of the most high-ranking foreign Muslim leaders to visit the Jewish state since the signing of the Abraham Accords.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.