Tunisian city to honor local Jews

Tunisian city of Sousse to name four streets for local prominent Jews.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff,

Sousse
Sousse
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The Tunisian city of Sousse has decided to name four streets for local prominent Jews, JTA reported Friday.

According to the report, the municipality will recognize Claude Sitbon, a lawyer; Daniel Uzan, a physician; Yvonne Bessis, a midwife; and the Ghouila-Houri and Ichoua families of city developers.

The streets are located in a new neighborhood of villas in the city’s north.

Sousse, a coastal resort city which is a popular vacation destination for Westerners, was attacked by Islamist terrorists in 2015. A gunman killed 38 tourists, mostly from Britain, in the attack that was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

Tunisia, which had a Jewish population of 140,000 prior to Israel’s creation in 1948, now has a dwindling community of 1,700 Jews, the second largest of any Arab country after Morocco’s 3,000 Jews.

The Tunisian Association for Support to Minorities, or ATSM, which often flags expressions of anti-Semitism, praised the Sousse municipality’s move and called it “important for encouraging multiculturalism.”

Tunisia’s government has been showcasing its Jewish heritage sites, including Djerba, whose ancient synagogue was on Tunis’ list last year for locales put forth for recognition as world heritage sites by the United Nations.

At the same, Tunisia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

In 1996, Tunisia and Israel opened interest sections in each other's country, but Tunis froze relations in 2000 in protest against Israel's response to the Second Intifada.

In 2014, Tunisia's tourism minister faced criticism from parliamentarians over a trip to Israel she took in 2006 to take part in a UN training program for Palestinian Arab youths.

She, along with another minister, also faced censure later that year after being accused of promoting "normalization" with Israel. Those motions were withdrawn.

Last year, Tunisia banned the film "Wonder Woman" which stars Israeli actress Gal Gadot, because Gadot had defended Israel's counterterorism Operation Protective Edge on Facebook.

This year, a Tunisian legislator ripped up an Israeli flag during a parliament session to push his demands for a law criminalizing relations with Israel.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)








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