Why? Do they possibly know something about Islam and the Islamic party that the learned analysts of the West don’t know? Naaah. Couldn’t be. They must just be “Islamophobes.” “Tunisia’s Jews ‘discouraged’ after Islamic party win,” by Mariette le Roux for AFP, October 31:
LA GOULETTE, Tunisia “” Gilles Jacob Lellouche, a member of Tunisia’s small Jewish minority, shrugs as he contemplates the future under a government run by the Islamic party that swept the country’s first free polls.
“We will wait and see,” he said about fears that minority freedoms may be under threat.
Lellouche smokes one cigarette after the other on the front porch of the kosher restaurant he owns in Tunis’ port suburb of La Goulette, where many Jews live, discouraged by the secular left’s splintered election showing.
“The people have spoken, and they have chosen that (Islamist Ennahda) party,” he told AFP. His left index finger still sports the mark of pride of Tunisians who voted in Sunday’s historic polls — a fading blue ink stain.
Lellouche was the sole candidate of Jewish origin out of more than 10,000 registered in Sunday’s vote for a new assembly that will rewrite the constitution — the first-ever in Tunisia not to have a pre-determined result. He stood for the Popular Republican Union, which won one seat that went to another candidate.
The businessman takes comfort in the fact that the Islamist party did not obtain an outright majority.
“Tunisians are not ready to open the doors to a new dictatorship having just left behind another. But we have to be vigilant,” he said.
Asked if people in the Jewish community were positive about a future under Ennahda, he replied: “They are not negative. There is a substantial difference …”
Tunisia has one of the Arab world’s largest Jewish minorities, estimated at 1,500 people out of a total population of more than 10 million.
According to Dar el Dekra (House of Memory, in Arabic), an organisation for the preservation of the Jewish heritage in Tunisia, their presence dates back 2,000 years — mainly on the island of Djerba in the Gulf of Gabes.
They numbered in the tens of thousands until World War II, after which many left for Israel, established as a state in 1948, and France, the colonial power until 1956.
Lellouche noted that Tunisia has a long history of “inter-community conviviality” and said he believed Islam to be a “tolerant” religion.
But in March, two months after the toppling of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben whom the West regarded as a bastion against Islamisation, a group of Muslim men assailed Jews outside the Tunis synagogue, the biggest among only a handful in the country. “Begone the Jews, the army of Mohammed is back!” they shouted.
The interim government condemned the attacks.
The following month, the Israeli government made funding available to help Tunisian Jews move to Israel, citing “the worsening of … society’s attitude toward the Jewish community” since Ben Ali’s ouster….
“Even the Arabs are worried,” said a 30-something kosher butcher in the capital Tunis, who declined to give his name. “There is fear that Islam will be imposed … women forced to walk around veiled.
“If there is even the slightest danger, the Jews will leave. We all have family elsewhere, in France, in Europe,” said the butcher, wearing a Jewish skullcap and a full beard, sitting outside his small shop across the street from the synagogue — just a few hundred metres from a large mosque.
“My passport is ready, and I have set aside money for a ticket,” he added….