Israel-Maghreb Relations: Realities and Possibilities (MERIA)


Israel’s relations with the three core Maghreb states–Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia–have been shaped by a combination of factors: the region’s French colonial legacy and distance from the historical cross-currents of Arab nationalism and from the Arab-Israeli conflict, geopolitical exigencies, the state-building enterprises within the three Maghreb entities and the competition between them, and the particular status of their respective Jewish communities. The Madrid-Oslo years were marked by major breakthroughs at the formal, aboveboard level of relations with Morocco and Tunisia, and even witnessed positive developments in the Algerian realm.  With the second intifada, these achievements were rolled back.  However, the existence of continued parallel interests, and the emergence of new ones in recent years–the common need to combat radical Islamist movements and the expansion of Iranian influence, and to maintain and further develop close economic and political ties with the West–has ensured that Maghreb doors have not been entirely shut to Israel, and created possibilities for expanded links.