Tunisia refugees 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel is planning to offer Tunisian Jews interested in emigrating following the
recent uprising in the country a special absorption package, but members of the
community said on Thursday that they were unaware of any significant change in
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“They’ll receive a year of no-questions accommodation at
an aliya center, and other benefits on top of what others get,” said Jewish
Agency for Israel spokesman Haviv Rettig Gur.
10 Tunisian Jews make aliyah after violent
Earlier Thursday, the
Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced that the government would debate the
details of the package, which will purportedly offer NIS 10,000 to Tunisian Jews
in addition to benefits awarded to other olim.
“The regime change in
Tunisia as a result of the Jasmine revolution... has brought about the
Islamization of the government and rise in anti-Semitism,” stated a ministry
document quoted by Israeli media. “There has a been an increasingly worsening
attitude by the authorities and society toward the Jewish
Elad Sonn, the ministry spokesman, confirmed the wording of
the document and said it was based on “information from the Jewish
Roger Bismuth, president of the Jewish community in Tunisia,
said he had not noted a change in the government’s attitude toward Jews, nor did
he know of plans by community members to leave the country en masse, although he
didn’t rule it out entirely.
“I doubt anybody has heard anything like
that,” he said by phone from Tunis on Thursday. “It might be true, there’s so
much gossip going around.”
When the uprising began in December, there
were fears Islamist groups might take advantage of the instability and attack
the country’s Jewish community, numbering approximately 1,500 people who are on
the island of Jerba in the south and in the capital, Tunis.
however, there have been only a few minor anti-Semitic incidents.
the revolution, they burned a shrine of a big Jewish rabbi outside in the
country, and months ago some people passed the synagogue in Tunis and one said,
‘Kill the Jews,’ but otherwise this is a Tunisian revolution, not a revolution
against the Jews,” said Bismuth, who is a former member of the Tunisian
In response to protesters’ harassment of worshipers at the
synagogue, Bismuth petitioned his government, which pledged to provide better
security for the Jewish community.
Since the uprising began, a total of
between 40 and 50 Jews have chosen to move from Tunisia to Israel, JAFI
officials said – not “25 families” as Hebrew-language news website Ynet had
reported. Some of them had planned to emigrate before the uprising started.