The President recognised Azoulay’s “unique contribution to the State of Israel, to the Jewish people and to humanity”.
André Azoulay, senior advisor to King Mohammed VI of Morocco and who held that position with the monarch’s father King Hassan II, was among several individuals and institutions upon whom Israeli President Isaac Herzog conferred last week the Presidential Medal of Honor, Israel’s highest civilian award.
The royal advisor was accompanied at the ceremony by members of his family, as well as by Mustapha El Bakkouri and Tarik Ottmani, mayors of Tetouan and Essaouira, respectively. Also present at the event was the head of the Moroccan liaison office in Tel Aviv, Abderrahim Bayoud, and other relevant political, economic and cultural figures.
Azoulay, who is also president of the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures (Alexandria, Egypt) and co-chair of the Three Cultures Foundation of the Mediterranean (Seville, Spain), is known for his support for tolerance, peace and dialogue, promoting rapprochement and coexistence between cultures, civilisations and religions.
Azoulay has advocated understanding between peoples, especially between Israelis and Palestinians, defending a two-state solution in which sovereignty, dignity and justice are present on both sides.
Also, as a Moroccan of Jewish descent, he has emerged as a strong advocate for the preservation and protection of Jewish culture, heritage and legacy in the Kingdom. Azoulay has encouraged Moroccan Jews, both inside and outside Morocco, to maintain their connection to their roots and take pride in their unique cultural identity.
He has also played a key role in strengthening ties between Morocco and Israel since the two countries normalized elations in December 2020 under the auspices of the United States. Rabat then joined other Arab countries that normalised relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords and, like others such as the United Arab Emirates, began cooperating with Israel in different sectors, which has brought numerous benefits to both nations.
On the occasion of the ceremony in Israel, Azoulay expressed her pride in serving both King Mohammed VI and his late father, King Hassan II. “In Morocco, the land of Islam, I am a proud Jew and I live my Judaism to the fullest,” the royal adviser told the Moroccan news agency MAP. “This recognition is a source of great hope and immense pride for my country, Morocco, and for Moroccan civilisation, which continues to embody the values of peace and coexistence,” he added.
Azoulay also stressed that this recognition extends to all Moroccans regardless of their religious background, underlining the Kingdom’s commitment to peace and coexistence under the leadership of Mohammed VI.
Herzog, for his part, described Azoulay as “a man of peace and dialogue”.
The Israeli Presidential Medal is Israel’s highest civilian decoration. In the past it has been awarded to prominent political figures such as Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Angela Merkel.