Hedva, Hassan's alleged daughter, is said to bear a strong resemblance to him
You've heard of Muammar Gaddafi's Jewish grandmother; and the wartime Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said's Jewish grandson. Now Point of No Return brings you news of the King of Morocco's Israeli lovechild.
In truth, the story first hit the headlines in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot in 2005. Hedva Sella, a 53-year-old hotel receptionist in Eilat, revealed herself to be the illegitimate child of the late King Hassan of Morocco, to whom she bears a strong resemblance.
Hedva's mother, Anita Benzaquen, was the King's mistress. The Benzaquen family were prominent, bourgeois Jews with good connections to the royal family. Hedva's uncle, Leon Benzaquen, was named minister of Posts and Communications when Morocco became independent. Her grandfather, Joseph Benzaquen, was a respected doctor in the Jewish community and his brother Leon-Arie was a specialist in tropical medicine. The latter set up the first medical centre in Morocco for the treatment of tuberculosis.
"My family had warm relations with the King of Morocco", says Lisa-Luce, daughter of Joseph Benzaquen, whose family scattered to Belgium and Israel after his death. Quite how warm - no-one suspected: Hedva was the result of an affair between her sister Anita and the crown prince, 23-year-old Moulay Hassan.
Apparently her brother Jackie was also fathered by Hassan, who had something of a reputation as a skirt-chaser. On his mother's death in 1997, Jackie insisted on burning all her photos and letters and refuses to discuss the matter. Although no documentary proof exists the blood relationship could be confirmed by a simple DNA test.
Hedva did not receive payment for her story in Yediot Aharonot. Her only wish has been to meet her half-brother King Mohammed v1.
It is hardly surprising that the royal Moroccan court has refused to comment. But if ever the day came when Mohammed V1 of Morocco wanted to improve relations with Israel - what better way than to acknowledge the existence of his Israeli siblings?
From Dafina website (French)