Vigil in Tunisia for Paris Victim Yoav Hattab

January 17, 2015  

Scores of people paid tribute on Saturday in the Tunisian capital of Tunis to Yoav Hattab hy”d, the son of the chief rabbi of Tunisia, who was murdered two weeks ago in an Islamist terrorist attack on a Paris kosher supermarket.

Gathered outside Tunis’s Grand Synagogue, around 150 people carried candles and pictures of Hattab, placing them between two Tunisian flags.

Hattab, 21, had been in France studying international business, when he and three other Jews taken hostage in the supermarket were murdered by jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly.

Witnesses said he died trying to fight back against Coulibaly, trying to pull away one of the assailant’s guns before he was shot.

Hattab was well known among the Jewish community of Tunisia where his rabbi father runs the capital’s Jewish school. He and the other three victims were buried in Jerusalem last Tuesday.

One of those at the candlelight vigil was Besima Boughneya, who said: “I am here as a citizen, because he was a Tunisian and this has broken my heart.”

Sion Cohen from the southern island of Djerba where most of the predominantly Muslim country’s 1,500 Jews live, said: “This gathering shows Tunisia brings everyone together. As far as I know, this is the first demonstration of its kind in solidarity with Jews every held” in the country.

But while the supposedly moderate Islamist movement Ennahda, which had previously been in power, has expressed its condolences to Hattab’s family, there has been no official comment.

“That is a disgrace,” said Erij Bodhief, a 23-year-old student.

“I am a Muslim and I came. He was a child of Tunisia. What sort of message are the authorities sending to the Jews of Tunisia by not talking about this?” posed Bodhief.

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