A Jew has been named as Tunisian Tourism minister. This is not the first time that Rene Trabelsi has been nominated, but his appointment was vetoed in 2012. Trabelsi and his family own most of the hotels on the island of Djerba, where 1,000 Jews still live. He is mainly responsible for organising the Lag Ba’Omer pilgrimage, which used to attract thousands. Lately security issues have limited their numbers, but it is still the central event of Tunisia’s tourism calendar. Article in The Times of Israel:
Rene Trabelsi, co-organizer of an annual pilgrimage to the oldest synagogue in Africa, was named Tunisia’s first Jewish minister in decades this week.
Trabelsi was appointed tourism minister on Monday evening. He splits his time between France and Tunisia.
He is the country’s third-ever Jewish minister. The previous two were Albert Bessis who served in the 1955 government that led Tunisia to independence, and Andre Barouch, who worked in president Habib Bourguiba’s administration in 1956.
Trabelsi grew up on the island of Djerba, the heartland of Tunisia’s Jewish community and the site of the pilgrimage which attracts thousands of people each year.