Tunisian city names 4 streets after prominent local Jews


(JTA) — A Tunisian city where Islamist terrorists struck in 2015 will name four streets for local prominent Jews.

The municipality of Sousse, a vacation destination for Westerners, announced the honor this month recognizing Claude Sitbon, a lawyer; Daniel Uzan, a physician; Yvonne Bessis, a midwife; and for the Ghouila-Houri and Ichoua families of city developers, the news site Kapitalis reported last week.

The streets are located in a new neighborhood of villas in the city’s north.

Three years ago, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Sousse that killed 38.

Tunisia, which had a Jewish population of 140,000 prior to Israel’s creation in 1948, now has a dwindling community of 1,700 Jews. It is the second largest of any Arab country after Morocco’s 3,000 Jews.

The Tunisian Association for Support to Minorities, or ATSM, which often flags expressions of anti-Semitism, praised the Sousse municipality’s move and called it “important for encouraging multiculturalism.”

Last year, Tunisia joined several other Arab countries in banning the film “Wonder Woman,” apparently because its lead character is portrayed by the Israeli film star Gal Gadot. The Jewish-French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, who is not Israeli, was greeted during a 2014 visit to Tunisia by dozens of Islamists carrying signs calling on “Levy the Zionist” to leave.

The invitation to a Tunisian festival in July 2017 of the Jewish comedian Michel Boujenah provoked protests in Tunisia that ATSM said were anti-Semitic. Tunisia has several pending bills, introduced by Islamist and secular nationalists, proposing a blanket boycott on Israel and a ban on any Israelis from entering the country.

Notwithstanding, Tunisia’s government is showcasing its Jewish heritage sites, including Djerba, whose ancient synagogue was on Tunis’ list last year for locales put forth for recognition as world heritage sites by the United Nations.


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