Tunisia President Pledges Safety for Jewish Citizens After Attack

A police car is parked near the Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, last Wednesday. (AP Photo/Moncef Abidi)

Tunisian President Kais Saied pledged on Wednesday to guarantee the safety of Jewish citizens and their houses of worship, after meeting the country’s Chief Rabbi in the wake of a deadly attack at a synagogue on Lag BaOmer.

Last Tuesday night, a National Guardsman killed two Jewish men, Hy”d, and two policemen at the synagogue on Djerba Island, the oldest in Africa, before being shot dead.

Saied last week blamed the attack on “criminals” seeking to harm the tourism sector.

Saied did not describe the shooting as terrorism, a term he has sometimes used to label interventions by his political opponents since he extended his powers in 2021.

Mainly Muslim Tunisia is home to one of North Africa’s largest Jewish communities with about 1,800 members.

On Wednesday, the President met with Tunisia’s Chief Rabbi Bittan, as well as with the chief Christian archbishop and Muslim mufti, saying that receiving clerics sent a “historical message” of coexistence and tolerance.

“The President gave us guarantees that what happened recently would not happen again,” Chief Rabbi Chaim Bittan said.

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