Monday, 18 June 2012


Toronto's first ever celebration of 2,000 years of Jewish life in Morocco, sponsored in part by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), included a rare opportunity for FSWC Board Members to meet with Andre Azoulay,
Avi, Azoulay & Munk - 6.11.12
Avi Benlolo, Andre Azoulay & Anthony Munk, Managing Director, Onex
Senior Advisor to His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco - one of the only (if not THE only) Jews to hold such a position in the Muslim world.

The intimate luncheon, held at the office of FSWC Chair Gerry Schwartz, included a wide-ranging discussion by Mr. Azoulay focused mainly on the prospects for peace in the Middle East, and on the long and mainly positive history of the Jewish community in Morocco.

In describing why Moroccan Jews continue to regard Moroccan royalty with such esteem, Mr. Azoulay explained how His Majesty Mohammed V protected the Jewish community from the Nazis during WWII. "I don't have Jews or Muslims- I just have citizens," the king is said to have told the Vichy government, adding that his own family would be the first to wear the yellow star of David should the Jews be forced to do so.

"It was a unique gesture and we still are so proud of it," Mr. Azoulay explained.
Azoulay Luncheon - Boudra & Salomons
Felicia & Gloria Salomon with Elmedhi Boudra
As part of the week-long festivities FSWC President and CEO Avi Benlolo had the honour of introducing Mr. Azoulay at a Gala Tribute Dinner, and of thanking Mr. Elmehdi Boudra, a Muslim member of Mr. Azoulay's Moroccan delegation who is working to further Muslim-Jewish relations and Holocaust education in Morocco, to a Youth Conference.

"This wonderful week not only achieved the goal of bringing together the 18,000 members of the city's Moroccan community in a fantastic celebration of its distinctive culture and history, but also succeeded in highlighting the obvious: that peace between Jews and Muslims is possible and achievable," Mr. Benlolo stated.

CLICK HERE to see Andre Azoulay discussing His Majesty Mohammed V's support for Moroccan Jews

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