There is nothing more precious to a Jewish community than its Torah scrolls: that is why Jews on the run always try and take their scrolls with them. The Tunisian authorities are now the self-proclaimed guardians of abandoned Jewish artefacts and have called a press conference to announce that they have foiled the smuggling of a ‘rare’ Torah out of the country. (Two caveats: because it is written on cow hide does not make the scroll ancient. The claim that ‘Hebrew language experts that the scroll was written before the various books of the Torah were organized in their present order’ sounds highly dubious. ) Report by YNet News: (With thanks: Boruch)
Tunisian authorities announced that they prevented a 15th-century Torah scroll from being smuggled out of the country. The scroll was written on bovine skin.
According to Tunisian authorities, a group of suspects were arrested following a tip that the Torah scroll was being transferred to a European country as part of an antiquities smuggling operation.
During a press conference, Tunisian National Guard spokesman Khalifa al-Shibani presented the rare Torah scroll, which measures 37m long and 47cm wide.
According to al-Shibani, unidentified foreign elements attempted to buy the scroll, which he described as “a unique historical item for the world.”
Later in the press conference, al-Shibani said, “Experts at the National Heritage Institute have confirmed that the Torah scroll is an extremely rare, historical and invaluable item that is from the 15th century.”
The scroll seems to contain all parts of the Torah, yet Hebrew language experts argue that this scroll was written before the various books of the Torah were organized into their present order.