Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt visited Tunisia May 5-10. Before the horrific and deplorable antisemitic attack on May 9 that stands in sharp contrast to Tunisia’s rich, multicultural history, Special Envoy Lipstadt and Ambassador Hood visited El Ghriba Synagogue and attended the annual Lag B’Omer festival on the island of Djerba, where one of the oldest Jewish communities resides. During her visit, the Ambassadors met with leaders of the vibrant community and enthusiastic young students at the Jewish schools who left a lasting impression on them. Special Envoy Lipstadt was impressed to learn that Muslim and Jewish students have long studied side by side in the Houmt El Souk neighborhood, another illustrative example of coexistence which dates back 2,500 years and persists on the island.
While in Tunis, the Special Envoy met with State Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mounir Ben Rjiba to discuss religious freedom. She also participated in roundtables with representatives from civil society and met with students at the European University of Tunis who expressed hope for the positive impact of cultural exchange in fostering greater coexistence.