Tunisian Jews may vote for Islamists, prominent community member says


(JTA) — Some Tunisian Jews may choose an Islamist party in the upcoming elections, a leading member of the community said.

Rene Trabelsi, a businessman and son of a leader of Tunisia’s Jewish community of 2,500, made the assertion in an interview published this week by the Anadolu news agency ahead of the Oct. 26 parliamentary vote and the presidential race next month.

“There are no objections to selecting a political party with an Islamic background, such as Ennahda,” Trabelsi said in reference to Tunisia’s former ruling party, which stepped down last year as a temporary government proceeded to draft a new constitution ahead of the vote. “Regardless of ideological or religious considerations, we will support the party that presents a suitable economic program.”

Trabelsi noted that many Tunisian Jews had voted for Ennahda in the 2011 elections, which followed the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a revolution that triggered several other upheavals throughout the Arab-speaking world.

He said that more than 80 percent of Tunisian Jews who are eligible to vote have registered.

According to some reports, Trabelsi recently turned down an offer to become the country’s tourism minister.

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