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Tunisian Turmoil Threatens Local Jewish Community

The desecration of an ancient Jewish cemetery in Sousse has brought back long-forgotten memories and fears of anti-Semitism in Tunisia, writes Jacky Hugi.
A woman listens as men read the Torah on the first day of a pilgrimage at the Ghriba synagogue in Djerba May 9, 2012. The Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, home to most of Tunisia's Jews, is built on the site of a Jewish temple that is believed to date back almost 1,900 years and attracts pilgrims each year. REUTERS/Anis Mili (TUNISIA - Tags: RELIGION TRAVEL POLITICS) - RTR31U3J
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A handful of Jews in Tunisia’s port city of Sousse woke up one day to a harsh scene. The city’s ancient Jewish cemetery looked as if a pogrom had taken place there. Overnight, someone had shattered gravestones, taken others apart and caused general destruction to the site. The attack caught the small Jewish community of a total of thirty people by surprise.

For dozens of years, since the end of Nazi occupation of the area, the Sousse Jews had not felt the long shadow of persecution. In this city that bears relics testifying to a Jewish presence dating back a thousand years, Jews have recently been feeling threats to their safety.

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