Monday, June 02, 2014

Historic Jewish Community In Tunisia

Jews and Muslims have coexisted for hundreds of years on Tunisia’s Djerba island, but while relations between the two are good, some members of the tiny Jewish community say the atmosphere is stifling.

Before independence in 1956, Tunisia had a Jewish population of nearly 100,000.

But waves of emigration saw that number plummet, a trend accelerated by the Arab-Israeli conflict which fuelled discrimination. And this year, just before the annual pilgrimage to the Ghriba synagogue on Djerba, a controversy split Tunisia’s political establishment with several parties demanding Israelis be barred from entering the country.

Amid the dispute, the authorities did not scrimp on security around the Hara Kbira and Africa’s oldest synagogue, which was targeted by a suicide bombing in 2002 that killed 21 people.

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