Israelis warned against visiting Tunisia in advance of traditional synagogue procession there


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel issued a severe travel warning for Tunisia in advance of a traditional Lag b’Omer procession.

The warning issued by the National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau signifies a high concrete threat.

“Terrorists, including those aligned with the global jihad movement, continue to carry out attacks against a variety of targets in Tunisia,” the bureau said in a statement announcing the “severe travel advisory” for Tunisia.

The bureau recommends that Israeli citizens do not visit Tunisia, and that those already in the country leave immediately.

A similar warning was issued last year.

The traditional festive procession near the El Ghriba synagogue on Djerba, an island off the coast of Tunisia, takes place on or around Lag b’Omer, a break during the 49 days of mourning between Passover and Shavuot. Lag b’Omer begins this year on the evening of May 14. It draws hundreds of Tunisian Jews and visitors from Israel.

The synagogue, in the village of Hara Seghira, or Er-Riadh, dates back to 586 B.C., although the current building was reconstructed in the 19th century. El Ghriba is sometimes cited as North Africa’s oldest synagogue. In 2002, terrorists blew up a vehicle near the synagogue, killing 21 people.

In March 2015, 23 people, mostly tourists, were killed in an Islamic State terrorist attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. Islamic State claimed then that it would commit more attacks in the country.

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