web analytics
April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Tunisia to Jews: Keep Coming to Djerba for Lag B’Omer

El Djerba synagogue

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The annual Jewish Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to the oldest synagogue in Africa should be maintained as a symbol of Tunisian openness, according to Tunisia’s tourism minister on Tuesday.

Jews have been living on the island of  Djerba since 500 BC, with the local synagogue believed to be the oldest in Africa.  In the 1960s, Tunisia’s Jewish community numbered 100,000.  Most Jews left following the 1967 Six Day War.  Now, almost all of Tunisia’s 1,500 Jews reside on the island near the border of Libya.  Djerba was once called the “Island of Cohanim” because so many of the Jewish families there could trace their ancestry back to Moses’ brother Aaron, the first High Priest and father of the priestly class.

Elyes Fakhfakh’s public support for the annual Jewish event comes as the rise of fundamentalist Islamic Salafi groups threatens to drive out Tunisia’s remaining Jewish population.  Anti-Semitic rhetoric has increased since the overthrow of longtime president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 as part of the Arab Spring.  Unrest in Tunisia led to the cancellation of Lag B’Omer events that year.  Several thousand Jews – many of whom immigrated to France from Tunisia – are anticipated to attend this year.  On March 9-10, they will celebrate the victory of the Jews over the Romans prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, as well as the passing of the writer of the mystical Zohar, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Fakhfakh called the annual Jewish celebration in Djerba a rite which “should not change because it illustrates the openness of Tunisia to the world.”  Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali of the Ennahda party Monday concurred with Fakhfakh, saying “the Jewish pilgrims are welcome to Djerba”.

On April 11, Tunisian President Moncep Marzouki, accompanied by Tunisian grand rabbi Haim Bitan, laid a wreath and observed a moment of silence to remember the victims of an Al-Qaida truck bombing, which killed 21 people at the El Djerba synagogue on Djerba ten years ago.  Included in the killings were 16 tourists – 14 from Germany and 2 from France.  At the event, Marzouki called discrimination against Jews and attacks on their person or property “forbidden” and called Jews “an integral part of our people.”

On March 25, Salafi activists demonstrated in favor of the implementation of sharia Islamic law, chanting slogans to “prepare for the fight against the Jews”.

Under the rule of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Jews enjoyed official protected status, a privilege which has not been renewed by the new Islamist government.

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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 to Jews: Keep Coming to Djerba for Lag B’Omer”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Daniel Lubetzky  president of V15 and CEO of Kind "healthy" bars
No Victory for V15 and Not Healthy ‘Healthy’ Snack Bars
Latest News Stories
Hebron terrorist arrested

The wannabe terrorist wanted to be arrested more than he actually wanted to stab the soldier.

Raising Star

Israeli workers raise a large Star of David (Magen David) onto the “Harp Bridge” at the entrance of Jerusalem on April 17, 2015, in honor of Israel’s upcoming Israel’s Memorial Day and the 67th Independence Day. Israel will mark its 67th Independence Day on April 22, 2015.

Daniel Lubetzky  president of V15 and CEO of Kind "healthy" bars

First thwarted at the Israeli polls, now V15 funder’s “healthy” bars are also losers.

Mrs. Golda Katz a"h

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

The EU wants to label Settler products. Liberman want to remind them of the last time they labeled Jews.

A pro-BDS professor at Sydney University may face disciplinary action over his conduct at lecture where anti-Israelis disrupted a speech by retired British Col. Richard Kemp, who has often praised  the IDF for its morality while fighting terror. The university issued a “show cause” letter to Prof. Jake Lynch, according to The Australian. Jewish students […]

Liberman is adamantly insisting on receiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but Netanyahu wants Liberman to step back and take something else.

The teacher could face three years in jail for displaying Nazi symbols, which includes singing Nazi songs.

Ministerial distributions are starting to firm up, but Bennett reportedly has a new demand.

Egypt’s clampdown on tunnel has left Gazans without popular and addictive drug that helps them forget their misery.

“Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are.”

12 Christian Africans ‘thrown overboard’ by Muslim African migrants

The rock under the mosaic floor that was damaged is the foundation where the two Holy Temples stood.

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry calls the Shoah “the most painful and horrific chapter in human history.”

Thousands paid their respects to Shalom Yochai Sherki, 25, who succumbed on Thursday morning to injuries he received when a car that slammed into a bus stop he was standing near.

The president was very politically correct on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.

More Articles from Malkah Fleisher
Godzilla (R.)

A green bell pepper affectionately dubbed “Godzilla” by the children of Moshav Ein Yahav in the northern Arava desert has won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Though the permissibility of watching hired sports players go to battle in a large stadium is a source of controversy amongst Torah observant Jews, the food being served at the upcoming Super Bowl games in New Orleans is not.

Rabbi Yitzchok Moully, youth director at the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, will be introducing a new art installation in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees, inspired by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

More than 2,000 people have made contributions in memory of the young victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to plant a grove of trees in Israel.

Shoshana Hebshi, a half-Jewish, half-Arab woman from Ohio is suing Frontier Airlines, the FBI, TSA and other governmental agencies after she says she was forced off a flight, strip-searched, and imprisoned on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.

Women may enter military combat in the United States, following the lift of a military ban on women in combat by defense secretary Leon Panetta.

The Jewish National Fund will reconsider a plan to forest parts of the Arava desert, following the request of environmental organizations to consider the impact of trying to alter the native ecosystem.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Israel and western countries not to attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear program through military means.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/tunisia-to-jews-keeping-coming-to-djerba-for-lag-bomer/2012/04/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: