Israelis warned against visiting Tunisia in advance of traditional Lag B’Omer rite

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 recommended 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. The observance in Tunisia of Lag B’Omer, which begins this year on the evening of May 14, draws hundreds of the nation’s Jews and visitors from Israel.

The synagogue, in the village of Hara Seghira, or Er-Riadh, dates back to 586 BC, 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.

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

 

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