The destruction of a Jewish holy site in the Tunisian city of Al Hamma has left the North African nation’s tiny Jewish population feeling ever more vulnerable amid anti-Semitic comments by the country’s authoritarian president, Kais Saied.
A pro-Palestinian protest descended into a frenzied rampage this week as hundreds of men brandishing Palestinian flags and chanting Islamist slogans descended on the tomb of 16th-century Kabbalist Rabbi Yosef Ma’aravi on Oct. 17, setting fire to the shrine and hacking at its walls to protest Israel's military assault upon Gaza.
“The Jews are scared. In every event that Palestinians get killed, the Jews of Tunisia get attacked in turn. It’s a ritual,” lamented Rafram Chaddad, a Tunisian Jewish artist, who has campaigned on behalf of the Palestinians for years. “I would not dare show myself on the street at this time,” Chaddad told Al-Monitor.
The tomb, which was not an active site of worship as no Jews live in Al Hamma, was heavily damaged, according to videos and images posted to social media.