Monday, April 02, 2012
Jacob Lellouche (above left), one of the few Tunisian Jews in the public eye, was sufficiently alarmed by the anti-Jewish rantings of a preacher at a Salafist demonstration in the Avenue Habib Bourguiba on 25 March to write an open letter calling on the government to react. The reaction came when the minister for religious affairs, Noureddine Khademi (above right), met the head of the Jewish community, Roger Bismuth, on Saturday to give him reassurance.
Here is an extract from Lellouche's letter:
"I sincerely believe that today the Tunisian state, this state representing me as well as the 1,500 Jews of Tunisia and 11 million Tunisians, must confront its demons and face up to its responsibilities. Will this state, established in the name of democracy and dignity, allow spoiled brats and bad boys to dictate their laws and spread terrorism and panic in our country?
"In the name of dignity and emerging democracy, in the name of the love that we can all feel for our country, I call on you Mr President of the Republic to react, react, Mr Prime Minister, react, Presdient of the National Assembly before it's too late and a madman decides to take literally this hysterical preacher' s rantings!"
The overwhelming majority of comments - coming from educated, Francophone, middle class readers of Business.com.tn - are supportive of Lellouche. Some do try, however, to make the distinction between Jews and Zionists, and call on Lellouche to condemn 'Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.'
Read article in full (French)
Tunisian-born Israelis banned from entering the country: for six hours last week, until the community head Roger Bismuth had remonstrated with the authorities, Israeli tourists arriving at Tunis airport were banned from entering the country.