Israel recalls its ambassador to Morocco over suspicions of "sexual harassment and corruption"

Jerusalem: The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned its ambassador to Morocco, David Govrin, on Tuesday, over suspicions of “sexual harassment and corruption.”

And the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, quoted on its website, on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry as saying that it had “recalled its ambassador to Morocco due to allegations of sexual abuse, harassment and corruption.”

"David Govrin, who returned to his post in Rabat on Sunday, has been asked to remain in Israel pending the ministry's investigation into the allegations against him," it added.

On Monday, an official Hebrew channel revealed that the Israeli Foreign Ministry opened an investigation into “serious suspicions” that occurred at the Tel Aviv diplomatic mission in Morocco, including allegations of exploitation of women by a senior official, sexual harassment and allegations of moral crimes, in addition to severe conflicts between diplomats.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is investigating complaints received about actions allegedly carried out at the Israeli representation (liaison office) in Morocco," Kan channel, which is affiliated with the official Israel Broadcasting Corporation, said.

She added that senior Israeli diplomats and politicians were involved in the case, pointing out that "the focus of the investigation is the behavior of the head of the Israeli mission, David Govrin, who was previously Israel's ambassador to Egypt."

The channel said: “Against the background of these allegations, a large delegation from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs arrived in Rabat in a hurry last week, including the Ministry’s Inspector General, Hagai Behar.”

She added that the ministry is investigating the disappearance or theft of a "precious gift" that came from the Moroccan royal court during Israel's celebration of its founding anniversary, or what the Israelis call "Independence Day", and it was not reported.

A conflict is also being investigated within the liaison office between the head of the mission, Govrin, and the security officer responsible for the security and safety of the mission, according to the channel.

She referred to "another strange story being investigated about a businessman named Sami Cohen (a Moroccan Jew), who carried out official hosting activities for senior Israeli officials" in Morocco.

Cohen, for example, co-hosted Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid when he was foreign minister, Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, and other senior officials.

According to the allegations, “the businessman arranged meetings for senior Israeli officials with Moroccan official representatives, although he does not hold any official position, but he is a friend of David Govrin.”

Kan channel said that "what most disturbs the (Israeli) Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials are the serious allegations of exploitation and harassment of local women by an Israeli official."

And she indicated that "if these allegations are proven true, this may be a serious diplomatic incident in the sensitive relations between Israel and Morocco," while there was no immediate comment from the Moroccan authorities in this regard.

On December 10, 2020, Israel and Morocco announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between them, after their suspension in 2000.


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