Saturday, September 08, 2007

Maguy Kakan

Al-Jazeera profiles Maguy Kakan, a Jewish woman heading a party women's list in Morocco's parliamentary elections:
"Kakon said she decided to run for the election because of the excellent relations she has with fellow Moroccans and her desire to serve them in parliament.

"'I joined The Social Centre Party only two years ago, but I have to say that at the age of 54, my experience and maturity qualify me to be involved in politics. I have been active in civil society, but this time I have decided to invest in politics.'

"Lahsen Madih, secretay-general of the Social Centre Party, said the Moroccan constitution grants Kakon the right to contest in an election as a Moroccan citizen as long as she abides by the laws of the kingdom.

"The choice of Kakon reflects the importance of Judaism as an important constituent of the Moroccan identity, Madih said.

"Despite their current small numbers, Jews continue to play a role in Morocco's intellectual and economic life, and Jewish schools and synagogues receive government subsidies.

"Before the founding of Israel in 1948, there were about 300,000 Jews in Morocco.

"The Six-Day War in 1967 led to increased Arab-Jewish tensions worldwide, including Morocco.

"By 1971, the Jewish population was down to 35,000; however, this time around most went to Europe and North America rather than Israel.

"At present fewer than 7,000 Jews are believed to remain, mostly divided between Rabat and Casablanca."

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