(JTA) — Tunisian Jews believe they are in danger, the head of a Tunisian rights group said following attacks on the community.
Yamina Thabet, head of the Tunisian Association Supporting Minorities, visited the Tunisian island of Djerba, home to about 2,000 Jews and the El Ghriba synagogue, which dates to 586 B.C.
“Tunisian Jews feel in danger, they are really afraid,” Thabet told reporters on Wednesday, the French news agency AFP reported.
Thabet noted an incident in which police interrupted a holiday meal over a stolen motorbike, ultimately firing tear gas at the gathering and leaving when a bus full of tourists approached. In another incident, a man calling himself “the new Hitler” broke into a Jewish school and assaulted an adult supervisor in front of the young students and reportedly attacked two young girls.
Thabet denounced “harassment” by Tunisian security forces and blamed the government, opposition parties and the National Constituent Assembly for the attacks on Jews, according to the Tunisian news website Babnet Tunisie.
Late last year, an imam called openly for a “divine genocide” of the Jews in a sermon. Despite the fact that incitement to racial hatred is punishable by up to three years in prison in Tunisia, the imam has not been prosecuted, according to the association.
In 2002, terrorists blew up a vehicle near the Djerba synagogue, killing 21.