Thursday, May 07, 2015

Tunisia protests at Israel Djerba jitters

 The al-Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba

Are tourists staying away from this year's Lag Ba' Omer pilgrimage, or defiantly ignoring Israeli security warnings? It depends which news media you read.

The Jewish Press reports:

Only a few hundred Jews are expected come to the Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba for the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage, held on May 6 and 7 this year, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of “concrete threats” of terror attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets in Tunisia.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Tunisian Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli protested what he termed an unfounded warning, accusing Israel of trying to “damage the reputation of Tunisia.”
He did not specify why Israel would be so hell bent on hurting Tunisian tourism.

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 Africa Review puts a positive spin on this year's pilgrimage:

"There is a lot of security, there are soldiers and police everywhere and that is very reassuring to us," said Lorine Bendayan, who made this year's trip from France.
Apart from Tunisian pilgrims, some 500 others are expected in Djerba for the two-day religious festival from France, Israel, Italy and Britain, according to the organisers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that his country had learned of "concrete threats" of terror attacks against Jewish or Israeli targets in the North African country, prompting a quick denial from Tunis.
But many of the Jewish pilgrims at Djerba on Wednesday were defiant.
"We are not afraid. We don't care what Israel has warned," said Bendayan.

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