A Profile in Courage
If you need a profile in courage and taking risks, look no further than brothers Mohamed Faleh Boughdiri and Ibrahim Boughdiri from Kasserine Province in Tunisia. For several years, they have consistently shown support for Israel despite being on the receiving end of personal attacks.
Kasserine Province is in south west Tunisia near the border with Algeria. Of the 11.93 million residents of Tunisia, 98% of the are Muslim. The brothers have converted to Judaism and now have Hebrew names.
Jewish Communities in Tunisia and Algeria Nearly No Longer Exist
In 1948, the Tunisian Jewish community had numbered 105,000, with 65,000 living in Tunis alone. The rise of Tunisian nationalism led to anti-Jewish legislation and in 1961 caused Jews to leave in great numbers. By 1961, the total Jewish population had declined to 70,000 and in 1968 there were only 12,000 Jews left in Tunisia. Heightened anti-Jewish persecutions during the Six-Day-War, influenced even more to leave. In that year 7,000 emigrated to France. In 1958, the Jewish Community Council was abolished. Around 1,500 Jews live in Tunisia, but none near the brothers. The communities are in Sfax, Sousse, Nabeul, Tunis, and the island of Djerba.
Neighboring Algeria once had one of Africa's largest Jewish communities. In 1948 there were 140,000 Jews in Algeria. Before 1962 there were 60 Jewish communities, each maintaining at least one synagogue, one Rabbi and its own educational services. During the three months between May and July of 1962 almost all the Jewish of Algeria left the country. In Algiers, for a community that numbered 30,000 in 1960, and had 12 synagogues, only one synagogue remains. It is not currently operational. In November 2015 Algerian authorities moved forward with a project to demolish a significant Jewish cemetery in Oran. It is estimated that there are fewer than 50 Jews left in a nation of more than 40 people individuals.
Personally Attacked for Supporting Judaism
The Boughdiri brothers have received significant threats from the Tunisian media, the government, terrorist organizations, and other individuals in society. According to Ibrahim, "People insult us with all kinds of names, and now they want to put us in jail. They call us traitors for supporting the 'Zionist Entity'."
The police department in their city has been contacted, and they refuse to help the brothers. Continues Ibrahim, "A Salafist group attacked our house because we are infidels. We cannot sleep at night because we are afraid of these Salafist groups and our own government."
"Our desire is to live in the land of freedom and democracy, The Holy Land of Israel," concluded Ibrahim.
NOTE: To contact Ibrahim on Facebook, click here.