Israeli Officials Concerned Over Fate of Tunisian Jews
Israeli officials have expressed serious concerns over the safety of the Jewish community in Tunisia. Some 2,000 Jews still live in the country, and the Foreign Ministry's office for fighting anti-Semitism said that instability in the country could have serious negative effects on the country's Jews.
The recent murder of leftist opposition leader Chokri Belaid has brought hundreds of thousands of angry Tunisians out into the streets, as popular opposition to the country's Islamist regime grows. The unrest, combined with a weak economy and high unemployment – running at about 17%, as opposed to the 13% that prevailed under the regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, deposed as part of the Arab Spring rebellion in 2011 – could be a recipe for attacks on Jews, the Foreign Ministry said.
Public declarations of anti-Semitism, in social media and traditional media, have risen significantly in recent days, the Ministry said. In addition, local imams in mosques have been inciting against Jews, claiming that they are responsible for the liberal opposition to the Islamist Ennahda party, which runs the country.
Several Jewish cemeteries in Tunisia were desecrated this past week, local residents reported. Many residents are living behind locked doors out of fear that pogroms could evolve.
The Foreign Ministry has instructed Israeli diplomats around the world to ask the governments of the countries where they are stationed to intervene with the Tunisian government to ensure the safety of the country's Jews.