web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.
Four Notes on The Situation
Latest News Stories
Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev

Chairman Avner Shalev: Countries must combat “expressions of anti-Semitism”

Prime Minister Netanyahu and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, July 24, 2014.

Israeli leaders say London has special responsibility to stand by Israel at this hour of need; Hammond: Israel right to defend self.

Israeli man inspects damage to his home in Yehud, July 22, 2014.

Finance, Economy ministries team up to support Israeli businesses struggling under weight of non-stop rocket fire.

.

New president to take office this evening; was elected June 10 following bitter campaign

Mrs. Beck took personal interest and was hands-on, sharing with her children, grandchildren, and others the wonderful values that she stood for.

Overnight clash leads dozens of Islamic heroes to surrender; many brought to Shin Bet for debriefing

Jewish communities from around the world have stepped up to support children from southern Israel who have lived their entire lives under the threat of missile attacks from Hamas freedom fighters in Gaza. (To quote the late comedian George Carlin: If firefighters fight fire, and crime fighters fight crime… what do freedom fighters fight? But […]

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Did the U.S. allow Hamas terrorists rule Israel’s skies? Why would the Obama administration do that?

The IDF has reportedly stabilized its lines and is now focusing on mapping out and destroying the terror tunnels they have uncovered.

Hamas terrorists are counting on human shields as ammunition against Israel. It won’t stop the IDF, Netanyahu says.

The Iron Dome team was busy Thursday with a dozen missiles fired at metro Tel Aviv.

IDF troops destroyed another 34 targets overnight, totaling 3,400 terrorist targets hit in Operation Protective Edge so far.

A law is on the table to strip parliamentarians of their status and citizenship if they back and endorse terrorism — as Balad MK Hanin Zoabi has.

2:22pm Yad Mordechai, Netiv Ha’Asara 2:04pm Ashkelon, Ashdod 2:02pm Kiryat Gat, Gedera 2:01pm Zikkim, Karmiya, Be’er Tuvia, Kiryat Malachi 12:30pm Netivot, Kfar Maimon and surrounds 11:35am Sderot and surrounds 11:18am metro Tel Aviv, Ramat Hasharon, Herzliya 10:59am Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Bat Yam, Holon, Elad, Petach Tikvah, metro Tel Aviv 10:58am Gan Sorek, Rishon Lezion, […]

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.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: