THE JASMINE REVOLUTION BETWEEN SECULARISM AND ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM; THE CASE OF TUNISIA AND THE ISRAELI-­PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

Abdelwahab Hechiche

Abstract


The central impetus of this paper is the “un-­Tunisian-­like” hostile slogans emitted in early 2012 in honor of Hamas leader Ismail Hanya, during his official visit to Tunisia at that time. The slogans in question, among them “Kill the Jews!” were protested by many Tunisians, and were widely denounced as an insult to the Jews of the world, but more importantly perhaps, they were decried as affront to Tunisia’s own Jewish children. Upon his historic return from exile and from jail, one of Bourguiba’s first acts was to visit the poor Jewish quarter of “Hafsya,” a gesture that reminded us of the Bey of Tunis, and the King of Morocco, both of whom, courageously, during WWII, declared their total and unconditional commitment to the defense and protection of their Jewish subjects. Integrating its tolerant “Mediterranean” past, and charting a post-­Jasmine Revolution future is one of the major challenges facing the Tunisia of today.

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