Vandals torch Ramle synagogue

Police suspect the blaze at the place of worship associated with the local Jewish Tunisian community was a hate crime.

December 23, 2011 01:59
2 minute read.
Tunisian Jew reads from Torah in Tunis

Tunisian Jew prays in synagogue_311. (photo credit: Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Unidentified persons torched the Tunisian El Ghriba Synagogue in Ramle on Wednesday night, the fifth time the building has been set on fire of late, locals said.

Police suspect the blaze at the place of worship associated with the local Jewish Tunisian community was a hate crime.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

'Tunisian Jews unaffected by upheaval'

The attack took Israel’s Jews of Tunisian origin by surprise.

Miriam Gez-Avigail, a community activist, said the arson was “shocking” and hoped police will catch the culprits soon.

“There are all sorts of suspicions,” she said. “Some lead to the Arab community, others to part of the Jewish community in the city. We cannot point a finger at the moment.”

She said the incident underscored the importance of completing the construction of a Tunisian Jewish community center in Jerusalem, which has been stalled because of a lack of funds.


The torching of the synagogue in Israel came a few weeks after Vice Premier Silvan Shalom called on the remaining 1,800 Jews in Tunisia to make aliya, sparking a minor diplomatic row with the newly elected government in Tunis.

Last week, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki responded to Shalom’s call by meeting with Tunisia’s Chief Rabbi Haim Bittan and inviting Tunisian Jews in Israel to return to the country.

“Tunisian Jews will always remain Tunisians, whether they live in Israel or in the USA,” he said, adding that the country was safe for Jews.

Speaking over the phone from Tunis on Thursday. Roger Bismuth, the president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, was still angry over Shalom’s comments.

“Personally, I think it was a very stupid thing to say,” he said. “He says whatever he wants but he doesn’t realize that I am a Tunisian and that people like me have our families and factories here.”

He said Jews felt safe in Tunisia and that so far he had been pleasantly surprised by the new Islamist government’s policies toward the non-Muslim minority.

Back in Ramle, Police on Thursday said a separate arson incident in the mixed city, involving the torching of a car of a national-religious high school principal, was probably not a sectarian incident.

Three Arab-Israelis were arrested after the vehicle was set on fire.

“We believe this is not more than a feud between neighbors,” a source familiar with the investigation said.

The suspects are still being questioned in custody.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery