On December 7, 2011, Israel’s Tunisian-born deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom made another call on the small Tunisian Jewish community (pop. 2,000) to immigrate to Israel.
Jacob Lelouche, who runs a kosher restaurant and was an independent candidate in October 2011 national elections, told BBC reporter on December 31: “Where would I go – to Europe? Come on, I’m not stupid. To Israel? I’m not that stupid either. Silvan can say whatever he wants. I am Tunisian, this is my country. I will stay here. Silvan can not tell me where to live.” Such comments were censored later by the Zionist-controlled British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Avraham Chiche, is the director of the Jewish Old Age home in La Goulette. His family immigrated to Tunisia over 500 years ago from Spain during the Christian Inquisition. Chiche feels that Shalom’s comments have been political and he has no plans to leave Tunisia.
“Silvan Shalom needs to mind his own business and let us choose to live where we want to live, instead of making publicity statements for Israel,” said Chiche.
“We fear the small number of Salafists in Tunisia, but not Ennahda, the leadership of Ennahda came to us both before and after the election and assured us that our community will remain a vital part of Tunisian society while they are in government,” Chiche added.
A Jewish silversmith in Djerba said: “I obviously have not taken these calls seriously, they have been made by Shalom before. I prefer to be vigilant, and patient with this new government to see if the democratic transition will be successful instead of listening to the provocations of Shalom“.
In 2007, American Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s IFCJ offered $10,000 each to 25,000 Iranian Jews to immigrate to Israel. However, only a dozen of them took the bait. The video below shows how Iranian Jews are treated in their own words.