web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Tunisia Leader Facing Flack Over Jewish Pilgrimage to El Ghriba

Tourism professionals determined that “the pilgrimage to Ghriba must be successful for the tourist season to be successful.”
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.

The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.
Photo Credit: Hegor / Wikimedia Commons

Just one day after Tunisia’s leader urged officials not to make a fuss over normalization of ties with Israel, the country’s parliament voted to “interview” its tourism minister for deciding to allow Israelis to participate in the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba.

The elected National Constituent Assembly (NCA) has announced it will question Tourism Minister Amel Karboul over the decision to allow Israelis to enter Tunisia.  Also to be “interviewed” will be Security Minister Sefar Ridha, according to international media reports.

“Our problem is not with our Jewish brothers who come for the pilgrimage but with the Zionist entity that occupies Palestinian territories,” said leftist Democratic Alliance head Mohammed Hamdi.

Since the country’s Jasmine Revolution in January 2011, Tunisia has struggled with a massive economic crisis.  Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa warned the parliament Tuesday it was in Tunisia’s best interest to “make the tourist season a success, because tourism is one of the activities that brings immediate cash to the country.”

Of those activities, Jomaa noted, tourism professionals have determined “the pilgrimage to Ghriba must be successful for the tourist season to be successful.” He added, “This is a tradition known to us – the pilgrimage has been taking place for years.”

The tourism industry in Tunisia employs some 400,000 people and accounts for seven percent of the GDP.  Jomaa’s decision to create a policy of tourism “transparency” means that Israelis can for the first time use their official passports to enter the country for the pilgrimage, rather than a specific Tunisian embassy-issued document.

Tunisia had “offices of interest” in Tel Aviv in 1996, and Israel had one in Tunis as well. Those ties were established just two years after the closure of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters which had existed in Tunisia for the twelve years prior.  But the fragile ties established between Tunisia and Israel were torn apart in October 2000 when the PLO succeeded in launching the second intifada in Israel – prompting Tunis to freeze ties in a protest against Israel’s efforts to quell the violence.

For years Jews have gone to Tunisia for the pilgrimage, with or without formal Israeli-Tunisian diplomatic ties. But an Al Qaeda terror attack on the synagogue in 2002 left 21 people dead, and killed the tourist event for the next decade. The Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Spring did the rest.

About the Author: Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Tunisia Leader Facing Flack Over Jewish Pilgrimage to El Ghriba”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arabs Launching Fireworks
Arab Arrested with Fireworks Launchers Hidden in Car [video]
Latest News Stories

Arab stone throwers broke more windows on the Jerusalem Light Rail.

The Conflict Kitchen's main course in anti-Zionism.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism come in 57 varieties. Just ask Heinz.

Police car running away

Residents of Jerusalem’s Maaleh HaZeitim neighborhood, who have been under regular attack by Arab rioters, filmed a police car running away from an Arab mob last night in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.

Arabs Launching Fireworks

Launching fireworks at police, civilians and homes has turned into the weapon of choice for Jerusalem Arabs in their latest round of rioting.

Hamas test launched 2 rockets this morning.

Israel’s ambassador to Jordan suggested that King Abdullah’s recent rants against Israel stems from pressure by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

On Saturday, fighting between the Lebanon Army and ISIS-affiliated terrorists in the Lebanese city of Tripoli left at least 14 dead and dozens wounded.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman (L) speaks with Israel’s Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel during a cornerstone laying ceremony for a new Synagogue in the community of Nokdim in Eastern Gush Etzion, on October 23, 2014. Nokdim is Liberman’s home town. This is what we think they spoke about.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency Saturday after terrorists carried out a deadly assault in the northern Sinai, killing 33 Egyptian troops. Al-Sisi charged that “this operation had a foreign fund to execute” he attack against the Egyptian army… to break the back of Egypt and Egyptians.” A car bomb […]

Arab youth are trying to spark a widespread intifada but so far have failed.

Jewish headstones and monuments were smashed, broken and knocked over. Firebombs were thrown into the cemetery.

The Galil Medical Center has treated 408 wounded Syrians to date.

At least 14 people have been killed in Tripoli battles.

India has chosen to purchase Israel’s Spike anti-tank missiles after rejecting a competing offer for US Lockheed Martin’s Javelin missiles.

The US sends its “condolences” and urges “all parties…to avoid escalating tensions.”

Kerry snubs Ya’alon, but the Israeli D.M. gets great press coverage in leading U.S. newspaper.

More Articles from Hana Levi Julian
Ebola virus particles.

A healthcare worker has returned to the US from West Africa suffering with symptoms resulting in testing for the Ebola virus at NYC’s Bellevue Hospital.

Israeli car damaged by rock attack in September 2014. (archive)

Despite PM Netanyahu’s vow to “assert sovereignty” over all parts of Jerusalem, Arabs continue to carry out potentially lethal rock attacks.

Israel’s prime minister and the mayor of Jerusalem met today with security brass over the terror attack that wounded 8 and killed a 3-month-old baby.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Boeing Aerospace and Defense has made a sale to Iran.

Syria’s once-lucrative oil wells dissolve under U.S.-led coalition air strikes targeting the ISIS terror organization.

In Lebanon, a man in his 20s suspected of being ill with the Ebola virus has been placed in quarantine at a Beirut hospital.

The Legal Forum for Israel calls on Transportation Minister Katz to amend the law and revoke drivers’ licenses of convicted terrorists.

This Friday, millions of Jews in 340 cities around the world will be ‘keeping it together.’ The 7th day. Shabbat.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tunisia-leader-facing-flack-over-jewish-pilgrimage-to-el-ghriba/2014/04/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: