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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Situation for Jews in Tunisia and Egypt

Nadene Goldfoot

The last time Jews were attacked in Tunisia was in 2002 by al Qaeda. They killed 21 people who were worshipping in the synagogue on the island Djerba.Tunisia has had the largest Jewish community in North Africa. They have been there since Roman times and numbered 110,000 before 1948, when Israel was created. As of this year the Jewish population has been 700 in Tunisia proper and 1,000 on the island of Djerba. Last night their synagogue was set on fire in the southern city of Gabes. The spokesman of the Jewish community, Peres Trabelsi, felt it was done not from anti-semitism but to create a division between the Muslims and the Jews. Torah scrolls were burned in the arson. The Prime Minister, Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali left Tunisia on January 14th when riots toppled his police-ruled government . Jews have lived in Tunisia since Roman times.  Attacking Tunis synagogue: added 2/20/2011

Egypt used to be the home of 100,000 Jews who have immigrated to Israel and most likely France. Now just 70 older Jews are left. They are afraid to speak about the riots going on now.
Jews had the history of being slaves in Egypt for 400 years, but in 1492 Jews who had been living in Spain and Portugal were expulsed. These Jews, called Sephardim, made a mass immigration back to Egypt as they were about to be killed from the Spanish Inquisition. By 1937 they suffered much anti-semitic attacks because Egypt had teamed up with Germany, so Jews suffered in all countries because of it. By 1947 there were 65,639 Jews in Egypt. In 1956 Egypt expulsed 21,000 Jews. This was the year of another war between Israel and all her neighbors. By 1960 there were 8,500 remaining in Egypt. By the 1967 War, 800 remained in Egypt alive.
added 10/27/12  Tunisia Jews, hanging on and cooking 

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