In an incident as yet unreported by the mainstream media, the Beth-El synagogue in Sfax, restored three years ago at a cost of 20,000 Euros, has allegedly been vandalised in apparent revenge for Israeli reprisals on Gaza following the Eilat terrorist attacks killing eight Israelis.
In a post on the Tunisian Jewish site Amit, blogger Camus reported that the local police refused to answer his calls or give details of what happened. Two eyewitnesses say that the synagogue was badly damaged and the adjoining house, where the beadle (or shamash) lives, was stripped bare of its contents.
This is not the first time that the synagogue has been wrecked. It happened in 1956, when Tunisia declared independence and the community of 5,000 was at its height.The authorities insisted that the building be restored or sold off as a mosque or commercial centre. The community chose to restore it.
In January this year the El-Hamma synagogue near Gabes was attacked and a Torah scroll burnt to ashes. The Minister of Culture, which is in charge of synagogues, has said it has restored security at both sites.
A scene of earlier devastation at the Sfax synagogue.