Monday, February 21, 2011

Fearful Tunisian Jews appeal for protection

Visitors at the Ghriba synagogue on Djerba where 1,200 Jews still live

The Jewish community in Tunisia has called on JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) to help protect their synagogues and ensure their general safety 'as they are afraid to speak out'.

"There is a real fear that more synagogues will be torched, and more property will be vandalized", JIMENA said in a statement in the aftermath of the arson of the El-Hamma synagogue near Gabes and the Islamist protest in front of the Great Synagogue in Tunis.

JIMENA, which advocates for the rights of Jewish refugees, issued its 'urgent alert' appealing to supporters to urge the US State Department to "demand that the rights and property of Jews and other minorities in the Middle East and North Africa are protected during this period of transition and in the years to come."

The alert reminds one that at times of turmoil and sudden change minorities have always been vulnerable to persecution and dispossession. Close on one million Jews were driven out of Arab regimes in the last 60 years.

You are urged to call or write to the US State Department and demand that Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, publicly call for the protection of minorities in the Middle East and North Africa.

State Department Hotline: 202-647-6575; Email the State Department under the topic U.S. Foreign Policy and the subject line Minorities in North Africa and the Middle East; or write to your Senator and Congressman.

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