For Tunisian Jews, Firebomb Attacks on Synagogue Open Old Scars

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Legend has it that the El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, a small island town just off the coast of Tunisia, has roots going back to the Babylonian Exile. The kohanim, the rumor goes, wanting to preserve the parts of the Beit HaMikdash that they could carry, lugged a door and a stone from Jerusalem to Djerba to establish it as a Diaspora outpost. The current building was erected in the 19th century, and most historians peg the original structure as being around 2,000 years old, but the myth has persisted anyway, and each year, Jews from the around the world make a Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to El Ghriba, often described as the oldest synagogue in Africa.

Amid violent protests against over government austerity and the rising cost of living, bombs were thrown into the synagogue, as well as two Jewish schools in the town, earlier this week, a community representative told a Tunisian news outlet. El Ghriba sustained damages, but neither of the schools did. No one was hurt.

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