Created By: Loren Baumberger
As the economic center of Morocco, Casablanca's port represents the most significant port in Morocco. The port's constuction began in 1906, in which large docks were built in 1938 and the eastern terminal in 1996. Today, the port can service thirty-five ships simultaneously and handles 21.3 million tons of cargo each year. The port is primarily used for commercial traffic, but also has a shipyard for repairs and a marina for fisherman. The massive port, which stretches across eight kilometers of land, shows Casablanca's rich history as a major port city.
The Port of Casablanca also had a role to play in Operation Yachin. In 1948, 44 Jews were massacred in the Moroccan cities of Oujda and Jerada. This led to the mass emigration of Jewish people outside of Morocco. Despite being granted full rights in 1956 after Morocco's independence, Jewish people remained apprehensive and continued to emigrate. Although Jewish emigration was outlawed from 1948 to 1956, around 250,000 Jews had left Morocco. King Hassan II ended the formal ban in 1961, but continued to discourage emigration. Later in 1961, the Mossad, or the National Intelligence Agency of Israel, became involved in negotiating Jewish emigration with King Hassan II. They decided on a monetary settlement based on the amount of immigrants, and Operation Yachin commenced. King Hassan II aided their emigration through the ports and airports in Casablanca and Tangier, which included the Port of Casablanca. Morocco was able to successfully transport approximately 97,000 Jewish people to Israel. Several years later, King Mohamed VI would enact his Jewish Heritage program to encourage Moroccan Jews to return to Morocco. Casablanca's participation in Operation Yachin, then, shows their acceptance of Judaism. Although he did gain monetary benefits for Morocco, King Hassan II gave Jewish people rights after Morocco's independence in 1956, and after seeing their want of emigration, negotiated with the Mossad to ensure safe travel for Jewish immigrants. He chose Casablanca not only because of the famous Port of Casablanca, but also because Casablanca is known as one of the most tolerant cities in regards to Judaism. Therefore, the Port of Casablanca's participation in Operation Yachin shows the city's acceptance of Jewish people.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Religious Identities in Casablanca