Israel has signed a defence agreement with Morocco, the first such agreement between Israel and an Arab state. Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz signed a memorandum of understanding with his Moroccan counterpart on Wednesday.

The two countries’ defence ministries and militaries can now communicate more easily and share intelligence. It also enables the countries to sell arms to each other and generally have smoother cooperation.

“It will allow the beginning of official security cooperation between the two [countries]. The agreement includes formalizing intelligence-sharing and will allow for ties between their defence industries, defence procurement and joint exercises,” Israel’s Defense Ministry said.

“We have just now signed an agreement for military cooperation — with all that that implies — with the nation of Morocco. This is a highly significant event that will allow us to enter into joint projects and allow Israeli [defence] exports here. I think the ties between Morocco and Israel need to continue to get closer, to continue to develop and expand, and I am glad that we have a part to play in that,” Gantz said after the signing.

Israel maintains close security ties with Jordan and Egypt and has peace agreements with them. However, the MOU with Morocco goes much further, with Israeli officials calling it “unprecedented”.

“The agreement that we signed will allow us to cooperate, with exercises, with information — this is an agreement that will allow us to assist them with whatever they need from us, in accordance — of course — with our own interests. We have a strategic alliance of knowledge,” said Zohar Palti, the head of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Political-Military Bureau.

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