Tunisian president calls on Jews to return


(JTA) — The interim president of Tunisia called for its Jews to return, although it was not clear if he was reflecting the Islamist-led coalition.

President Moncef Marzouki met Monday with Haim Bittan, the chief rabbi to the country’s remaining 1,500 Jews, The Associated Press reported.

Under Tunisia’s previous constitution, the president held strong executive powers. Marzouki, who was elected last week by the first parliament to be chosen in free elections in decades, was picked more for his symbolic status as a longtime human rights campaigner, and it does not seem as if he would have strong executive powers.

The Islamist-led coalition has yet to begin governing formally, but its leadership has said Tunisian Jews will have equal rights.

Approximately 100,000 Jews lived in Tunisia before a broad North African exodus following the 1967 Six-Day War. Many of those who left went to Israel.

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