Border closures and confinement have led to a decrease in the number of Jews visiting the hometowns of their parents and grandparents, such as the historic Jewish quarter of Fez or the “Mellah”.
As history shows, the love and mutual respect between Jews and Muslims in this neighbourhood has been very special, it is confirmed and continues. “The Jews used to call the Moroccans, at the time, “our brothers”,” says a former trader of the Mellah souk. ” This neighbourhood is the former ghetto where the Jews lived after the 13th century. There is still a very special cemetery and an attractive synagogue,” he says.
When you walk around this old quarter, which is no longer in good condition, you will notice that it differs from the other part of the old medina by the very particular architecture of the buildings. In the main street of the Mellah there are jewellers’ shops for those looking for jewellery and on top of these premises there are beautiful facades and wooden balconies. “The life of the Jews in this district was very calm, they had a cultural and religious autonomy which allowed them to create their own identity“, says a guide of the medina, stressing that “His Majesty King Mohammed VI contributed strongly to the consolidation of this Jewish culture in Morocco, by launching the construction of a museum of Jewish culture and the programme of rehabilitation of Jewish cemeteries in Morocco“.
Indeed, the resumption of Moroccan-Israeli relations has raised the hope of an increase in the flow of visits by Jews to this district which reveals the history of the rich culture of this religious sect.
The traders of the Mellah in Fez have confirmed, in statements to Maroc Diplomatique, that the initiation of direct flights between Morocco and Israel will contribute to incite Jews to visit the city of Fez, and discover the religious monuments, houses, shops, craft spaces, etc.