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The New Arab

Morocco's tiny Jewish community hard hit by coronavirus pandemic

More than a dozen Moroccan Jews have died from the novel coronavirus [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 April, 2020

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The Jewish community makes up less than one percent of Morocco's population but more than 10 percent of its coronavirus-linked deaths.
Morocco's small Jewish community has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Israeli media reported, with members making up more than 10 percent of Covid-19 deaths in the North African nation.

The Casablanca Jewish community has so far suffered 13 deaths from the highly contagious virus, Israeli officials who monitor the community told Haaretz.

Those deaths make up around 11 percent of the total Covid-19 casualties in Morocco, which has reported more than 1,600 coronavirus cases and 118 deaths.

While it is unknown how many Moroccan Jews have been diagnosed with coronavirus or hospitalised for the Covid-19 illness, the comparitively high death toll among the community makes it one of the hardest hit Jewish diaspora populations in the world. 

According to official figures, just 2,000 Jews live in Morocco, most of them in Casablanca, although the real figure may be closer to 1,500 - just 0.005 percent of the North African country's total population.

Jewish communities in the United Kingdom, France and Sweden have also suffered a disproportionate number of deaths from the Covid-19 illness but not to such an extreme extent.

The outbreak is believed to have started when several French Jews infected with the virus attended a wedding in Agadir. Locals who attended the wedding later took part in Purim celebrations in Casablanca.

Among the dead are three relatives of Israeli Labour Party leader Amir Peretz, who said in a Facebook post that Moroccan government officials and members of the royal family had offered their condolences.

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