first documented evidence of Jews living in what is today Tunisia
dates back to 200 CE.
the Arab conquest of Tunisia in the 7th century, Jews lived under
satisfactory conditions, despite discriminatory measures such as
a poll tax.
1948, the Tunisian Jewish community had numbered 105,000, with 65,000
living in Tunis alone.
Tunisia gained independence in 1956, a series of anti-Jewish government
decrees were promulgated. In 1958, Tunisias Jewish Community
Council was abolished by the government and ancient synagogues,
cemeteries and Jewish quarters were destroyed for urban renewal.
to the conditions for Jews in Algeria, the rise of Tunisian nationalism
led to anti-Jewish legislation and in 1961 caused Jews to leave
in great numbers. The increasingly unstable situation caused more
than 40,000 Tunisian Jews to immigrate to Israel. By 1967, the countrys
Jewish population had shrunk to 20,000.
the six-day war, Jews were attacked by rioting Arab mobs, and synagogues
and shops were burned. The government denounced the violence and
appealed to the Jewish population to stay, but did not bar them
from leaving. Subsequently, 7,000 Jews immigrated to France.
as late as 1982, there were attacks on Jews in the towns of Zarzis
and Ben Guardane. Today an estimated 2,000 Jews remain in Tunisia.
Maurice Roumani, The Case of the Jews from Arab Countries: A Neglected
Issue, (Tel Aviv: World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries,
1977),; Norman Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times,
(NY: Jewish Publication Society, 1991).