The Jewish celebration in Djerba went ahead without a hitch on May 9. Several hundred worshipers danced with Torah scrolls in a small procession outside El Ghriba synagogue. Men played the darbuka, sang songs, and prayed inside the ancient house of worship. The gathering was surrounded at all times by a small army of policemen to ensure nothing went wrong.
“To me, there is something magical about Jews and Arabs living together like they do here,” said Guy Tzinmann, a French Jew who came from Paris to take part in the event. “If you don’t come with an Israeli passport, they don’t give you any trouble. And unlike Algeria, where my mother is from, I can come here to visit.”
To be sure, turnout could have been stronger; only a few dozen people came from overseas, a far cry from the thousands who attended over the past decade. But it’s hard to see the event as anything other than a success.