So its no secret like most Arabic countries Tunisia doesn’t recognise Israel – well for the most part. Ok – now I have to talk about some of the ugly parts of this nation afraid.
Support for Arab Palestine is not hard to see on at least 4 bits of graffiti I saw out there. Not for any other Arab country like Iraq or Syria which has far more problems.
Seeing the top two pictures were not really a surprise but this particular one made me upset for several reasons.
- Christ is being picked up by Mary who has blue hair (?)
- This has been twisted into a weird political thing as Palestine and Tunisia, which were two places that didn’t exist during the time of Jesus. Islam, Mohammed and the Koran didn’t exist till later as well, although Arab people (Ishmaelites) were mentioned in the book of Genesis, who are smart and business savvy travelling and trading goods which of course they are still today.
- Jesus’ body is free of any lacerations and blood, the not so clear circular drawing with the Palestine flag on the right shows blood. You couldn’t really twist this any more.
- Right next to here was animals for sale which are treated cruelly. Many people on the political left in the western world are often attracted to jump on the Palestine bandwagon maybe vegans and animal lovers, but probably don’t have much clue how animals are treated in an Arab Palestine or any other Arab nation. I saw chickens with their legs tied together for sale, and someone picking up a rabbit by its ears. Israel has a much better treatment of animals and has a large number of vegetarian/vegan folks and concern for animal welfare.
On the other hand, more encouragingly; many Israelis come to the Djerba to celebrate the holiday of Lag B’Omer in the small island Jewish community.
Tunisian Jews don’t really show flags of Israel or Zionism as this would almost certainly cause a lot of upset, so likely to just have quiet discreet respect of the Jewish state.
So Israeli visits seem to be tolerated only in small numbers for the purpose of tourism.
However, this story I saw concerned me just before I left for Djerba.
I’d imagine that the Jews who have left Tunisia (100,000 in 1956 and 1,000 in 2019) have done so for either the reason of a 1. A stronger and wider sense of community, or 2. Fulfil religious goals of being in their land of their ancestors, 3. May have endured anti-semitism in some towns and may have had to pay Jizya tax for non-Muslims or even 4. Just purely for better future with jobs, homes and education.
Tourism books paint a picture of Tunisia as an example of tolerance of Jewish/Muslim relations in an Arab country, whereas relations might seem good in some degree, there are the familiar conflicts we see elsewhere.
My thinking as a Christian with many Jewish friends, and lover of the bible, is eventually all of the Jews in Tunisia will eventually pack up and leave one day. The bible gives me a true picture of past and present for Jews and Gentiles alike, rather than a pathetic Banksy-wannabe painting a blue-haired Mary.
1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira – 23. Going home