Tunisia: Jewish Festival Limits Activities as Security Concerns Continue

by | May 24, 2024 | Diplomacy, Security, Social, Tunisia



Beginning 24 May 2024, Jewish pilgrims gathered at the Ghriba Synagogue on the island of Djerba for an annual festival that was significantly reduced in size and scope this year due to security concerns as the war in Gaza continues. 

The festival was attacked by a rogue member of Tunisia’s security forces who killed multiple pilgrims and other members of the security forces before ultimately being killed by responding security elements. 

Some aspects of the festival were scaled down, with primarily religious rituals continued for the pilgrims in attendance. Participation from Jewish pilgrims in Europe and the US was significantly lower than in past years due to global security concerns over potential responses to US and European support for Israel in the war in Gaza. 

Senior US and European diplomats attended portions of the festival which marked the one-year anniversary of the 2023 attack. 



Despite guarantees of religious co-existence from government officials, concerns regarding antisemitism have been growing in recent years as the country’s Jewish population dwindles. 

The attack on the pilgrimage in 2023 was an indication of the potential risks posed by even an isolated minority of individuals with the capability and willingness to target the Jewish community, which is primarily located on the island of Djerba. 

With nationalist rhetoric on the rise and growing skepticism toward outside influences in Tunisia’s politics and economics, Tunisia’s Jewish community and other minorities remain vulnerable to ideologically driven lone wolf attacks, which are among the most difficult to identify and prevent. 


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