(JTA) — The head of the moderate Islamic party in Tunisia criticized anti-Semitic slogans chanted upon the arrival of a top Hamas official.
The condemnation by Rachid Ghannouchi, head of the Ennahda Party, which leads the ruling government coalition, came early Monday morning, The Associated Press reported. Hours earlier, Tunisia’s small Jewish community had called on the government to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
Upon the arrival of Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, late last week in Tunis, crowds began chanting slogans such as "kill the Jews” and “crush the Jews.”
During a Ennahda-organized rally at a local sports stadium Sunday, some participants shouted anti-Israel slogans such as "death to Israel" and at one entrance walked over a cloth with a Star of Israel printed on it, according to the AP.
Ghannouchi said in his Monday statement that the slogans were the work of a handful of ultraconservatives.
"No Tunisian should be insulted, and the government must take measures to ensure this incident is never repeated," Peres Trabelsi, a representative of Tunisia’s small Jewish population, told the French news agency AFP.
"There are no Zionists in Tunisia and we don’t want to be mixed into the problems of the Middle East," Trabelsi said, adding that "Tunisia is our country."
About 1,500 Jews live in Tunisia, an Islamic country with a population of approximately 10 million.
"Israel no longer has allies in Egypt and in Tunisia, we are saying to the Zionist enemies that times have changed and that the time of the Arab Spring, the time of the revolution, of dignity and of pride has arrived," Haniyeh said at the Sunday rally, according to AFP.
"We promise you that we will not cede a single part of Palestine, we will not cede Jerusalem, we will continue to fight and we will not lay down our arms," he said.