Ten years since the Al-Qaeda bombing of the Al-Ghriba synagogue on Djerba, killing 21 French and German tourists, Tunisian president Moncef Marzoufi was at pains to give reassurance to Tunisian Jews shaken by recent extremist threats. JTA reports:
DJERBA, Tunisia (JTA) – On a visit to a synagogue that had been bombed 10 years ago, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki said Tunisia is committed to the security of its Jews and that they are equal citizens under the law.
Marzouki also said he had invited a group of Jewish school children to visit his office at the Carthage Presidential Palace. The president has recently invited groups of school children to his office as a way of opening the Tunisian presidency to the public following last year’s revolution.
Marzouki made his remarks as part of a ceremony to mark the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 Al Qaeda truck bombing attack on the El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba. Twenty-one people were killed in the attack.
Some Jews in the country have been unsettled by demonstrations in Tunisia over the last three months in which ultra-conservative religious Salafi groups with alleged ties to Al Qaeda called on Muslims to kill or wage war against Jews.
On Wednesday, local Jewish community leaders applauded Marzouki’s visit to the synagogue and said they were optimistic about the future of Tunisia’s 2,600-year-old Jewish community. Tunisia has an estimated 1,500 Jews.
New cause for wariness among Tunisian Jews (Jewish Exponent)