Tunisians protest entry of Israeli tourists

Dozens of demonstrators protested the entry of Israelis into Tunisia at a Djerba rally against normalizing ties with the Jewish state.

The rally, organized by the Awfia Samidoun association, took place April 28 in Djerba Midoun, a municipality of the southern island that every spring receives hundreds of Jewish pilgrims, including many Israelis, the news website babnet.net reported.

The sit-in protest was organized days after the Tunisian parliament summoned Tourism Minister Amel Karboul to explain why she was allowing Israelis to enter the country using their Israeli passports.

Karboul said at a news conference last week that “Tunisia hopes to welcome thousands of Jewish tourists to the pilgrimage of Ghriba. This would strengthen Tunisia’s image abroad as a tolerant country that is open to all religions.”

The Hilula of Ghriba — a feast that features a festive procession on or near Lag B’Omer — brings hundreds of Jews to Tunisia every year. Their procession traditionally ends at the El Ghriba synagogue, a 19th-century building that is among Africa’s oldest existing synagogues. — jta