Lag Ba'Omer celebrations in Djerba
Lag Ba'Omer celebrations in DjerbaShalom Mazuz

An annual Jewish pilgrimage to Tunisia's Djerba synagogue and celebration has been cancelled this year due to the war in Gaza, the head of the organizing committee, Perez Trabelsi, told Reuters on Friday.

Trabelsi added that the committee has reduced the annual pilgrimage to limited rituals only inside the synagogue, and expects a very small number to arrive from France due to the tense situation in the Middle East.

Djerba covers an area of 514 square kilometers and is the largest island off North Africa. The island is home to one of the last Jewish communities in the Arab world, and houses the Ghriba synagogue, which is the oldest in Africa and is believed to date to the sixth century BCE.

Thousands of Jews flock annually to the Ghriba synagogue to celebrate the holiday of Lag Ba’Omer.

In 2018, about 3,000 people took part in the festivities. In 2019, hundreds of people attended. The pilgrimage then took a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 and resumed in 2022.

During last year’s celebrations, a terrorist attack targeted the synagogue. Two Jews – cousins Aviel Hadad and Ben Hadad – and three police officers were murdered in the attack.

In September, UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, added Djerba to its list of World Heritage Sites.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)