The founder and chairman of Tunisia’s leading Ennahda party, Rachid al-Gannouchi, has met with Tunisian Grand Rabbi Ham Bittan in what is a highly symbolic gesture at a time when Tunisian Jews are being targeted, threatened and intimidated by Islamic fundamentalists.
On his Facebook page, Gannouchi explained that he invited the rabbi to the meeting because he wanted to hear about the community’s concerns directly.
While Tunisian Jews have dwindled to just over 2,000 people in a country whose population is 98% Muslim, the community has been an integral part of the nation’s history for thousands of years. The most ancient synagogue in Africa is located in Djerba.
”The Jewish community is an integral part of the Tunisian people. The common denominator of all Tunisians is their love for the country that preserves their dignity. We share in nation-building together, thanks to our religious and intellectual diversity within the framework of unity, coexistence, and mutual acceptance”, Gannouchi wrote.