Israel recalls ambassador to Morocco for consultations as it investigates sexual harassment allegations

The Government of Israel has recalled for consultations its ambassador to Morocco, David Govrin, following the opening of an investigation into allegations of alleged sexual harassment and financial irregularities at the Israeli diplomatic legation in Rabat, reopened last year after the two countries established diplomatic relations in late 2020.

According to information reported by the Israeli daily ‘The Times of Israel’, the decision has been taken by the director general of the Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz, following a preliminary investigation carried out by an Israeli delegation that went to the African country on Monday to collect statements from the diplomatic legation’s staff.

The details of the investigation, unveiled Monday by the public television channel Kan, were confirmed Tuesday by Foreign Ministry sources quoted by ‘The Times of Israel’ itself, after the portfolio’s inspector general, Hagay Behar, moved last week to Rabat following accusations against Govrin about the functioning within the diplomatic legation.

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Among the main allegations are that “a senior Israeli official” allegedly sexually exploited several Moroccan women, as well as complaints of sexual harassment. The Israeli Foreign Ministry is also investigating financial and administrative problems, including the disappearance of a gift sent by King Mohammed VI to Israel on the occasion of Independence Day.

Also under investigation are reports that a local businessman and leader of the Jewish community in Morocco identified as Sami Cohen, a friend of Govrin’s, had received several ministers – including the foreign minister and current prime minister, Yair Lapid – and arranged meetings between them and local officials despite having no official relationship with the embassy.

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The agreement between Israel and Morocco to normalize relations came after the Israeli government signed a similar pact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, within the framework of the ‘Abraham Accords’, brokered by then US President Donald Trump. Following this, Sudan joined the same.

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