RAMALLAH, March 28 (JMCC) - The Israeli cabinet Sunday approved incentives
for Tunisian Jews seeking to immigrate to Israel
Officials said they believe that the recent revolution in Tunisia and worsening economic conditions have soured conditions for the approximately 1,500 Jews that live there.
We know that there is real distress among the Jews of Tunisia, many of whom would like to immigrate to Israel, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
. Israel is the state of the Jews. It worries about Jews wherever they are. Those who are here and those who would like to come here.
The incentives include about $1700 in payouts per family, in addition to the usual state assistance provided to new immigrants.
According to a report
by the Jerusalem Post
, however, the Tunisian Jewish community denies that there has been a rise in anti-Semitism after the revolution that swept leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali from power.
Roger Bismuth, president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, said he had not noted a change in the government’s attitude toward Jews, nor did he know of plans by community members to leave the country en masse, although he didn’t rule it out entirely.
“I doubt anybody has heard anything like that,” he said by phone from Tunis on Thursday. “It might be true, there’s so much gossip going around.”