Jews Account for Over 10 Percent of Coronavirus Deaths in Morocco

The Jewish community of Morocco has been one of the hardest hit, if not the hardest hit, in the world by the coronavirus – at least in relative terms.

Israeli officials who monitor developments in the Moroccan Jewish community reported that as of Monday, 13 members had died of complications from the virus, all of them from Casablanca.

According to official figures, some 2,000 Jews currently live in Morocco, the vast majority in the port city. Sources knowledgeable about the community believe this figure is inflated and that the real number is closer to 1,500.

The officials were unable to provide details on the number of Moroccan Jews who were infected with the coronavirus or who had been hospitalized.

As of the start of the week, a total of 1,661 confirmed coronavirus cases had been reported in Morocco, with 118 deaths. Deaths within the Jewish community, therefore, accounted for 11 percent of the total – a disproportionately large share considering that the Jewish population is hardly a tiny fraction of a percent of the country’s total population of 36 million.

The death toll in the Jewish communities of Great Britain, France and Sweden has also been disproportionately high, but not to this extent.

The pandemic is believed to have begun spreading in Morocco’s Jewish community after several French Jews, who were already infected, attended a wedding in the coastal city of Agadir. Some of the locals at that wedding then participated in Purim holiday gatherings and celebrations some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away in Casablanca, where the virus spread further.