Tunisia president invites back Jews

December 22, 2011

The call by Tunisia's new president for the country's Jews to return has elicited mixed responses from its small Jewish community.

Around 1,800 Jews currently live in the North African country, down from 110,000 in the 1950s. About two-thirds of them live on the island of Djerba.


Tunisian Jews asked to return by new president

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2011

The Tunisian president has extended the hand of friendship to the Jewish community.

The North African country was once home to 100,000 Jews but after independence from France and the Six Day War in Israel many fled, fearful of their safety. The population now stands at around 1,500 Jews and is concentrated on the island of Djerba.


In Tunisia, 'no fear over the Islamists, not yet'

By Rachel Shabi, October 27, 2011

"They naturally have a majority," says Tunisia's Jewish community leader, Roger Bismuth. "But more important is what is going to happen in the next few weeks."

As the Islamist Nahda party secured about 40 per cent of the vote in Tunisia's historic elections this week, the country's tiny Jewish community was wondering what this means for them.


Looters target Tunisian synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, September 7, 2011

A synagogue in the Tunisian city of Sfax has been vandalised.

According to CRIF, the representative body of French Jewry, Synagogue Beth-El was ransacked towards the end of last month while Tunisian Muslims were marking the month of Ramadan.

It is believed the synagogue has not been guarded since the Arab Spring revolutionaries overthrew the government of President Zein el-Abbadin Bin Ali.


Saudi: oddest ally Israel ever had

By John R Bradley, July 14, 2011

At first glance, the consequences for Israel do not look good six months after the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.

This week, an Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to the country was bombed for the fourth time, while hundreds of Tunisians rallied in response to a rumour that the interim regime there was planning to normalise ties with the Jewish state.


Israel's aid package to Jews fleeing Tunisian turmoil

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 31, 2011

The Israeli cabinet authorised on Sunday a special aid deal for Jewish families planning to emigrate from Tunisia to Israel following the revolution there three months ago.

So far, 25 families have applied for Israeli citizenship and more are expected to do so over the next few weeks.


Arsonists attack Tunisian synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2011

The security of Tunisia’s dwindling Jewish community has been called in to question following an arson attack on a synagogue in the south of the country.

Jewish communal leaders said vandals set fire to the synagogue in Tunisia’s southern Gabes region on Monday evening, damaging the Torah scrolls inside the building.

Trabelsi Perez, who also heads a community in Djerba which in 2002 was attacked by Al-Qaeda, told news agency AFP that the police had not done enough to prevent the attack.


Are the revolts across the Arab world linked?

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 27, 2011

It is tempting to lump the unrest sweeping the Arab world this week into one tidal wave, but the scenario in each country is unique.


Tunisia violence: not best place to be Jewish

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 20, 2011

It's not hard to find Jews in Tunisia, even while there is a revolution on. Head down to the Avenue de Liberte in Tunis in time for shacharit and you can find worshippers leaving the main synagogue. And it's not hard to see that they have reason to be worried.

As one man leaving the shul, in his 60s and wearing a black beret, said: "It's a good time to be quiet and put your head down."


Jewish community reacts to Tunisia violence

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011

The political instability in Tunisia could put the future of the country’s 2,000 year-old-Jewish community under threat.

More than 100 people are believed to have died and many more been injured in violent anti-government clashes in the North African country, which last week triggered the president of 23 years to flee to Saudi Arabia.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) said that the target of the rage was the ruling party and not Tunisia’s Jewish population, which is estimated to be anywhere between 1,500 and 3,000-strong.