Pilgrims Flock To One Of The Arab World’s Last Jewish Communities


USA Today reports:  DJERBA, Tunisia — Despite warnings from Israel to avoid traveling to one of the Arab world’s last Jewish communities, thousands came to the ancient El Ghriba synagogue this week to celebrate the Jewish festival of Lag b’Omer.

Jews from Tunisia, Europe and elsewhere made the annual two-day pilgrimage that began Wednesday under tight security to mark the holiday with prayers, candles and wishes written on eggs.

Organizers estimated 2,000 people made the trip here despite a severe warning by Israel’s National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau that recommended all travel to Tunisia be avoided.

“Terrorism is everywhere, it’s in Paris, it’s in Bardo. The problem is worldwide,” Lior Elia said in his family jewelry shop in Houmt Souk, the main city on the island of Djerba off the Tunisian coast. “We are protected here, the police work for us and for everyone, and we are also protected, thanks to God.”

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