Amid terror warnings for the approaching Lag Ba’ Omer pilgrimage at the Ghriba synagogue, lawyer and blogger Souhail Ftouh quotes a newspaper report that Tunisian Jews have been shaken by Islamist charges that they are creating a second Palestine on the island of Djerba: (with thanks: Ahoovah)
The Tunisian Arabic daily Assarih published on Tuesday, May 2, 2012, an article headlined “The Tunisian Jews tremble with fear.”
The paper said that the statements of Basma Jbali, elected to parliament for the Ennahdha (Islamist) party, calling on Jews to be prevented from buying land on the island of Djerba “to make Djerba a second Palestine” has raised many concerns among the community.
The newspaper claims that the Jews of Tunisia fear that this statement will whip up anti-Semitic demonstrations on 9 and 10 May, while the ritual of the annual pilgrimage takes place to the Jewish synagogue located on this island in southern Tunisia.
Perez Trabelsi, the president of the Jewish community in Djerba told the newspaper Assarih that the statements of Basma Jbali are likely to cause trouble within days of the pilgrimage to Ghriba, as they affect the tourist season while Djerbians of all faiths make efforts to attract tourists.
The Tunisian Jews who now “tremble with fear” believe that the statements of Islamist MP Basma Jbali provide an opportunity for small groups of radicals to wave placards hostile to Jews as hundreds of pilgrims flock to the island of Djerba.
Israel issues terror warning (Ynet News):
Israel’s Counter Terrorism Bureau (CTB) has on Thursday emphasized its recommendation to refrain from visiting Tunisia and has declared that the threat level in the country is now at level three out of four – which means a high level, concrete threat. The travel advisory alert was published in light of intentions to carry out terror attacks in the country against Israeli and Jewish targets during the period of the Lag b’Omer festival, which will be taking place next Wednesday and Thursday in the city of Djerba. Haim Damari, Director General of Tunis Tours, said that usually the annual festival held at the ancient Djerba synagogue, which according to tradition was built by the Jews exiled after the destruction of the first temple in 586 BC, attracts some 40,000 Jews a year.
“Around 1,000 of them are Israelis and the rest are locals, Jews of Libyan descent from Italy, and the Tunisian Jewish community in France,” he said.
According to Damari, last year the festival did not take place “due to the unpleasant atmosphere towards Jews in the country.” Damari, who plans many such tours to the country and intends to continue his tradition, says that Israelis will not be making it to this year’s festival either.
“Jews from other locations won’t come either, like last year; most likely the only people there on Lag Ba’Omer will be the locals,” he said.
More than 10 years ago, 21 people were murdered in the synagogue on Djerba Island after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a gas filled tanker.