Pictures of a Tunisian Jewish Community on the Eve of a Massacre

On May 8, a jihadist opened fire at the historic Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba—as it was flooded with pilgrims who had come to celebrate the Lag ba’Omer holiday—killing four. Skyler Dahan was present at the synagogue not long before the attack; some of his photographs of the festivities can be found at the link below. In her introduction to the pictorial essay, Erin Clare Brown writes:

“Are you Jewish?” the armed guard at the checkpoint leading up to el-Ghriba asked Dahan when he arrived for the first [day] of a two-day celebration. “It was a weird moment, when you’re being asked that question in an Arab country,” he said, but something about the tight controls felt comforting, a buffer against the outside world.

From the kitchen, . . . smells lured in revelers for refreshment, mostly in the form of brik—a shatteringly thin fried pastry shell filled with a silky, barely cooked egg, tuna, capers, and potatoes. Brik after brik was turned out from great pans of oil, while massive pots of chraime, a slow-simmered fish stew made by Djerban Jews for the Sabbath, bubbled away on the back burners in preparation for the evening meal.

Read more at Newlines

More about: Anti-Semitism, Lag ba'Omer, Synagogues, Terrorism, Tunisia

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan