Israel has summoned its ambassador to Morocco, David Govrin, over allegations of sexual harassment and corruption, Israeli media outlets have reported.
The Israeli foreign ministry confirmed Govrin’s recall to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Tuesday, saying “the ambassador to Morocco [has been recalled] due to allegations of sexual abuse, harassment and corruption”.
Govrin, 58, is a fluent Arabic speaker and had previously served as the ambassador to Egypt from 2016 to August 2020.
He will remain in Israel pending the ministry’s investigation into the allegations against him, the newspaper said.
Public broadcaster KAN said Israeli authorities were “investigating complaints over alleged actions carried out at the Israeli representation in Morocco”.
The broadcaster also referred to “another strange story concerning businessman Sami Cohen who officially hosted activities for senior Israeli officials” in Morocco.
According to media reports, the businessman allegedly arranged meetings for senior Israeli officials with Moroccan official representatives, despite not holding any official position.
According to The Times of Israel, the foreign ministry is also investigating the theft of a “precious gift” from the Moroccan Royal Court during Israel’s celebration of its foundation anniversary.
Such gifts have to be registered and turned over to the government, but the item appears to have disappeared with no record.
The most serious complaint was that “a senior Israeli official” at the mission had sexually exploited several local women, something that could lead to a severe diplomatic incident with Morocco. There were also complaints of sexual harassment within the mission.
If the allegations prove to be true, a serious diplomatic incident in relations between Israel and Morocco could be sparked.
Morocco became the third Arab state to normalise ties with Israel under United States-brokered deals in 2020, joining the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In return, the US – under former President Donald Trump – recognised Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara.