Israel upholds travel warning to Tunisia (JERUSALEM POST) By JERUSALEM POST STAFF 05/04/12)
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Israel on Thursday reiterated its advisory not to travel to Tunisia
for the famed Lag Ba’omer celebrations set to take place there next
week, saying it had information of possible terrorist activity in the
“The National Security Council Counterterrorism Bureau has today
decided to reiterate the existing travel advisory regarding Tunisia
in light of plans to perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israeli and
Jewish targets ahead of the upcoming Lag Ba’omer pilgrimage,” it said
in a press release.
In past years, thousands of Jews from around the world traveled to
the Tunisian island of Djerba to take part in the annual Lag Ba’omer
Last year, in the chaotic aftermath of the uprising that removed
longtime dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power, the event was
canceled amid security concerns.
This year’s Lag Ba’omer event is seen by some as a test to determine
whether the new democratically elected government formed by Ennahda,
an Islamist party, will protect the country’s religious minorities.
A senior member of the Jewish community on the island, which numbers
around 1,300 people, told The Jerusalem Post he expected several
hundred participants from France to take part in the religious
gathering this year. He said that while that number was much smaller
than previous years, it was an improvement from when it was called
off last year. The Tunisian Jew added that he believed his government
would provide adequate security for the event.
Most Jews in Tunisia live on Djerba, an island several hours drive
south of Tunis, the capital. The community is clustered around the El
Ghriba synagogue, an ancient house of worship and tourist attraction.
Two terrorist attacks have occurred at the synagogue, the last in
2002 when a suicide bomber killed 21 people, mostly tourists.
Last month, a senior Tunisian government officials said the Jewish
pilgrimage was a source of pride for the country and committed to
uphold religious tolerance in the country.
Lag Ba’omer is a Jewish holiday commemorating the death of Rabbi
Akiva, an important Jewish sage, and the short-lived victory of
Jewish rebels against the Romans in the 2nd century CE. (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 05/04/12)
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