Honoring a Moroccan King for defending Jews:
But the 700 people who crowded the sidewalk on West 88th street weren’t there for services. Or for a wedding. Or a late-night bar mitzvah.
They came to celebrate a king — a Moroccan king, to be exact.
The ceremony, organized by the KIVUNIM: The Institute for World Jewish Studies as part of their three-day 10th anniversary conference, celebrated the creation of The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. – Rabbi Abraham Heschel Award and its first recipient, the late King Mohammed V of Morocco, who protected the country’s 250,000 Jews from the occupying Vichy French forces and the Nazis during World War II.
In the early 1940s, Morocco was still a French protectorate controlled by the pro-Vichy government. When, in 1941, the occupying forces attempted to enact legislation discriminating against Jews, the king — only 32 at the time — refused. “There are no Jews in Morocco, only subjects,” Mohammed V reportedly said…[FULL STORY]