Yair Lapid's visit will be the first by an Israeli minister since the signing of the so-called “Abraham Accords”, the Trump-brokered agreements between Israel and four Arab states: Morocco, UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.

A handout picture released by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows Israeli alternate prime minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid getting off his aeroplane in the Moroccan capital Rabat on August 11, 2021.
A handout picture released by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows Israeli alternate prime minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid getting off his aeroplane in the Moroccan capital Rabat on August 11, 2021. (AFP)

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has kicked off a bid to strengthen ties with Morocco, nearly a year after the two countries signed an accord to normalise relations.

Lapid is expected to meet his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, on Wednesday and open a diplomatic representation on Thursday in the capital Rabat.

"We have landed in Morocco. Proud to represent Israel during this historic visit," Lapid wrote on Twitter as his flight operated by Israeli national airline El Al arrived.

Lapid, who is slated to become prime minister in 2023 under Israel's eight-party coalition government, is also expected to sign several agreements to push forward consultation between the two nations.

Israel and Morocco normalised ties last year after then US president Donald Trump recognised Morocco's contested sovereignty in Western Sahara.

Morocco was the fourth Arab state to establish ties with Israel last year after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

The move infuriated the Palestinians as it shattered the longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalisation until Israel agrees to a comprehensive and lasting peace.

READ MORE : Morocco signs deals with US-Israeli delegation marking normalisation

Diplomatic office in Rabat

Lapid is also expected to visit the Beth-El synagogue in Casablanca on his two-day visit, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Israel and Morocco share a long history of formal and informal ties.

The North African country hosts the Arab world's largest Jewish community of some 3,000 people.

They are the remnant of a once much larger community. Some 700,000 Jews of Moroccan descent now live in Israel.

Morocco and Israel maintained liaison offices in the 1990s, before closing them during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, that raged from 2000 to 2005.

Lapid's visit to Rabat follows a June trip to the United Arab Emirates, where he inaugurated the new Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi.

It comes just days before Israel is due to require all travellers returning from Morocco to quarantine following a review of the risks of Covid-19 infection.

The visit also comes as Israel shows off other evidence of the accords moving forward.

A senior Bahraini official is visiting Israel this week, where he met with an Israeli general and other officials.

Sheikh Abdulla bin Ahmed al Khalifa, the undersecretary for political affairs in Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry, attended a signing ceremony on Wednesday for a partnership between Israel’s Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy and the Gulf country’s Derasat think tank.

“A year ago, there was nothing between our two countries. Today, we have come a very long way,” the sheikh said. “We can confidently say that we have a solid foundation to develop these bilateral ties.”

Israel and Gulf countries had been quietly improving relations for years as they came to view Iran as a shared threat.

“We sign this (memorandum of understanding) at the time when our shared security interests are taking center stage again,” said Ron Prosor, head of the Abba Eban Institute and a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.

READ MORE: Trump announces Israel, Morocco to normalise relations

Source: TRTWorld and agencies