Wednesday, January 19th | 17 Shevat 5782

February 18, 2013 1:05 am

Israel Presses International Community to Protect Tunisian Jews

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The El Ghriba synagogue in Tunisia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has instructed its diplomats to press the international community to encourage Tunisia to protect its Jewish community and sites, Ynet reported.

In late 2010, Tunisia became the birthplace of the “Arab Spring” revolts after deposing longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. A recent assassination of a popular secular politician and human rights advocate, Chokri Belaid, has led to more instability and protests against the ruling Islamist government, while Islamist supporters also staged counter protests.

Amid the renewed instability, the Israeli Foreign Ministry fears that Tunisia’s small Jewish community, estimated to be around 2,000, will face greater dangers. Over the past several weeks, several dozen Jewish gravestones were desecrated and anti-Semitic incitement has risen.

“There appears to be an increase in anti-Semitic statements among local religious clerics and cases of public incitement against Jews,” says a report written by Gideon Bachar, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Combating Anti-Semitism, according to Ynet.

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