Less than one per cent of the Jewish community remains in Tunisia. Their marginalisation and exodus is almost complete. Here is a useful timeline:
The Al-Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba
1881 French Protectorate established in Tunisia
1898 Fighting breaks out between Jews and Muslims. Jewish homes looted, shops wrecked. 62 Muslims, 20 Jews sentenced.
1910 Agudat Tsion founded, 1920 Federation of Zionist organisations
1917 Arab soldiers returning from WW1 riot against Jews who are exempt from army service. Looting, rapes and beatings. One dead, 8 wounded.
1923 Liberalisation of French nationality. By WW2, 6,667 Jews had French passports.
1940 Vichy discriminatory laws exclude Jews from public service, Jewish Community Council abolished, inventory of Jewish property drawn up.
May 1941 Gabes pogrom. 7 Jews die.
Nov 1942 Nazi occupationof Tunisia begins. Italian nationals come under Fascist racial laws. Nazis demand that the Jewish community raise 88 million francs . 2,000 Jews sent to forced labour camps. 60 deaths from aerial bombardment.
April 1943 Aerial deportation to European death camps of 40 Jews. 17 survive.
1948 -49 Of 100, 000 Jews, 6, 200 emigrate to Israel illegally. Jewish Agency takes over legal migration. 25, 000 emigrate between 1948 – 55.
1952 attempted pogrom against Tunis hara thwarted by self- defence groups
1952 – 57 10, 000 emigrate to France
1952 bloody nationalist riots
1954 Yom Kippur declared an official holiday
20 March 1956 Tunisia declares its independence. Rise of pro-Nasser movement.
1956 Europeans and Jews attacked and robbed during period of lawlessness
1957 Jewish ministers Andre Bessis and Andre Baruch appointed. President Bourguiba visits Tunis hara. Jews begin to join ruling Neo-Destour party. A minority of Jews are Communists.
1957 old Tunis Jewish cemetery expropriated
1957 Beth Din religious courts abolished
1958 temporary religious commissions replace Jewish Community Councils
1960 postal links with Israel suspended
1960 Old Great Synagogue of Tunis demolished
1959 exchange controls introduced
1961 Bizerte affair. French-Tunisian clashes lead to anti-Jewish reaction. 15, 000 Jews leave.
1962 10, 000 Jews leave for France with one dinar and 11.75 francs in their pockets.
1962 – 63 European and Jewish firms nationalised.
1967 an ageing population of 26,000 Jews remains
6 June 1967 shops looted and Great Synagogue sacked. 18,000 Jews flee, 63 percent for France
1976 6,700 Jews remain in Tunisia: 1,100 in Djerba, 4,600 in Tunis. Emigrants go mainly to Israel
1982 PLO establishes offices in Tunisia. More Jews leave
1985 several Jews murdered
1974 ORT school closes
With acknowledgements to Les juifs en Tunisie jusqu’a nos jours by Paul Sebag and L‘echec de l’integration des juifs de Tunisie by Jacques Taieb in La fin du Judaisme en terres d’Islam (ed S Trigano)
Other timelines: Yemen