Tunisia approves entry of Israeli tourists despite opposition

Decision, announced by Tunisian PM causes backlash from opposition who demand hearing of tourism and interior minister.

April 23, 2014 10:21
1 minute read.
Tourists ride a camel in Djerba, Tunisia

Tourists ride animals in Djerba, Tunisia 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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 analysis 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


Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa announced Wednesday that the security authorities in his country have approved the entry of Israeli tourists to Tunisia.

"There is a decision to allow Israeli tourists into Tunisia," Jomaa said at an economic conference in Tunis. 

"The aim is that the tourist season be a success," he said.

The decision caused a backlash from the Tunisian opposition, who were quick to accuse the government of being lenient and "normalizing relations with Israel."

Eighty members of the Tunisian parliament demanded that the Tunisian Minister of Tourism Amal Kirbul and the Interior Minister Rida Separ, be brought for a hearing on the issue.  

The Tunisian prime minister welcomed the hearing on the condition that it be conducted in an "objective and transparent manner, absent any political interests."

A Tunisian media report recently featured the visit of 61 Israelis, who entered the country on Israeli passports, a precedent-setting event in a country that has no relations with Israel.   

In May, Tunisia will host its annual Jewish pilgrimage to the Synagogue of Ghriba, or El Ghriba synagogue, on the island of Djerba.

Every year, Jews from around the world convene there for the Hilula of Ghriba – a feast which features a festive procession on or near Lag B’Omer. The procession traditionally ends at the El Ghriba synagogue, a 19th-century building which is sometimes referred to as the oldest existing synagogue in Africa, according to Georgetown University’s Berkley Center.

Last month, the Tunisian government allocated $6,300 toward renovating the synagogue. Critics, including the human rights lawyer Souhail Ftouh, called the renovation an attempt to control the damage caused to Tunisia’s image as a tourist destination following government authorities’ refusal on March 9 to allow a group of Israelis to disembark at a Tunisian port. The Israelis were passengers of the Norwegian Cruise Line, which scrapped Tunisia from its list of destinations to protest the refusal.

JTA contributed to this report.  

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

White House national Security Advisor John Bolton listens as U.S. President Donald Trump
May 21, 2019
‘Fire and Fury’ in Farsi: Is Trump treating Iran like N. Korea? - analysis