The Moroccan national women’s basketball beat their Israeli guest counterparts – 62 to 58 in a friendly game last week, the first time the two teams have played against each other.
But the big news was playing out on the sidelines of the game as the Royal Moroccan Basketball Federation (FRMBB) and the Israel Basketball Federation (IBBA) signed a framework cooperation agreement Tuesday in Rabat to develop sports exchanges, friendly tournaments and advanced training courses, among other things, Morocco World News reported.
“Through this cooperation, the Moroccan party aims, among other things, to benefit from the experience of the Israeli Federation which was founded in 1934 and which has accumulated a great deal of experience in terms of supervision, training and financial management,” a press release said.
According to Morocco World News, “the agreement provides in particular for the organization of tournaments and friendly matches at all levels and the participation of Moroccan coaches in advanced training courses in Israel.”
“This is the first time that an official delegation of the Basketball Association has gone to an Arab country to sign a cooperation agreement,” the Israel Basketball Federation tweeted. “The association has such agreements with quite a few countries, including Germany, Russia, Poland, Cyprus and others, but an agreement with an Arab state it has not yet had.”
Local Moroccans greeted the Israeli team with flowers, dance and song, showcasing what a difference the Abraham Accords has made since its signing by Israel and Morocco in 2020, not just officially on the diplomatic front, but also people-to-people relations.
“The Israeli women’s national team and the staff of the Israel Basketball Association landed late last night in Marrakesh for the start of a historic visit,” the Israel Basketball Federation tweeted. “Despite the late hour, all the heads of the Moroccan Union waited at the airport and received the chairman of the association, Amiram Halevi, with flowers, and when the team arrived at the hotel, a local troupe was waiting for them with dances and songs.”
The friendly game between the two women’s teams also helped prepare the Moroccan national women’s team for the upcoming Arab and African competitions, the Royal Moroccan Basketball Federation noted.
In April, Morocco, Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE signed the “Culture and Sports for Peace” agreement in Dubai, whose goal is to strengthen relations between the countries and to deepen cooperation in the cultural and sports.
“The agreement especially includes the development of partnerships, the holding of consultative meetings, and the exchange of cultural experiences between the four nations, as well as the organization of joint cultural and sporting events,” Morocco World News reported at the time. “In addition, the agreement entails assistance for the cultural industry as well as the sharing of opportunities and services among Morocco, Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.”
The four officials who signed the agreement – Morocco’s Minister of Youth, Culture, and Communication Mohammed Mehdi Bensaid; UAE Minister of Culture and Youth Noura Al-Kaabi; the Bahraini Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Ayman bin Tawfiq Al-Moayyed; and the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports, Chili Trooper – later released a joint statement in which they noted that the signing of the agreement was the result of their countries’ “recognition of the relevance of culture in cross-sectoral collaboration, as well as the significance of establishing people-to-people relationships via culture and sports.”
The agreement specifically called for the signatories to commit to the provision of a “proper environment for improved interaction among young people from said countries.”
The recent friendly game between the Moroccan and Israeli national women’s basketball teams basketball teams is considered one example of such an interaction.