I protect the Jewish community because it is a minority
"The link of the Tunisian Jews with Tunisia is very strong. Tunisia is known for its tolerance, Jews and Muslims have always coexisted together," said Elie Trabelsi.07 Agustus 2018 02:37
Elie Trabelsi, a Tunisian Jews politician. (Elie Trabelsi for Albalad.co)
By 1956, there are around 150,000 Jews in Tunisia. But their number continue to decrease. The population of Jews in that North African country today is about 1,500. Mostly live in Djerba island and Tunis.
Elie Trabelsi, a Tunisian Jews politician, notes that there is no discrimination from the goverment against Jewish communities in Tunisia.
The people of Tunisia have always respected minorities and the majority of the raids and racist attacks have been caused by some national currents and political parties that use the Palestinian cause as a pretext to hate us," said Trabelsi in an exclusive interview with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp yesterday.
How about the condition of Jewish communities in Tunisia after Arab Spring?
After the fall of the Ben Ali regime, there was a lot of solidarity among Tunisians including minorities. We were protected by the population despite the fact that the security situation was unstable.
Is there any change of sentiment against Jews in Tunisia?
The people of Tunisia have always respected minorities and the majority of the raids and racist attacks have been caused by some national currents and political parties that use the Palestinian cause as a pretext to hate us.
Do you feel comfort with current political and situation?
Our situation is identical to other Tunisian citizens. We suffer the same social situation and the political choices. Most of the Jews live mainly from tourism. If they stayed because they have hope that this beautiful country will recover .
Tunisia is the biggest jihadist exproter to Syria. Do you see there is an increasing of radicalism that threats minorites groups, include Jews?
The return of jihadists or the radicalization of part of the population is a danger not only for minorities but also for women and their freedom. Security in Tunisia has improved a lot thanks to the professionalism of the army, the gendarmerie and the police. The terrorist groups have been weakened and they have had a lot of defeats.
How many Jews from Tunisia emigrated to Israel since that country established in 1948?
The calculation is simple in 1948, there were 150,000 Jews in Tunisia...and today there are 1,500. The waves of immigration are not caused by the creation of the state of Israel, but also by the rise of violent nationalist Arab movements that have physically and financially affected the Jews in Tunisia.
As a politician from Jewish community, what is your plan about Jews in Tunisia?
The link of the Tunisian Jews with Tunisia is very strong. Tunisia is known for its tolerance, Jews and Muslims have always coexisted together. If there are some tensions, they are caused by some political parties who want to animate their audience by playing on the Jewish and Zionist amalgam.
I protect the Jewish community because it is a minority. As well as protecting the liberty of women and other sensitive issues. If Tunisia has made a revolution, it is not to return to obscurity. Indeed I fight all forms of discrimination.