The hapless Tunisian team, known by some as “The Eagles of Carthage,” lost today to the mighty Belgians, 5-2. (It might be worth pointing out that Carthage, similarly, lost to Rome, 3-nil.)
In any event, the conscientious, open-minded Zionist fan might be inclined to look for some glimmer of hope from the Tunisians. After all of these many centuries, there remains a Jewish community in Tunisia. The Island of Djerba has been home to Jews for around 2,500 years. The El-Ghriba Synagogue has been in continuous use for two millennia. Naturally, it still has a building fund.
Compared with most Arab countries, Tunisia has been more stable and more open-minded. It has a largely homogeneous population, unlike its neighbors. Plus, it had a relatively easy breakup with its colonial ruler, France — at least compared with Algeria. The French colonial experience left a residue of cosmopolitanism in Tunisia.
The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, and, as a result, there have been a pair of largely free elections. The Islamist Ennahda Movement claims to be more moderate than Islamist political parties in other countries. It is the second biggest party in the Tunisian parliament and serves in a ruling coalition with a secular party. All good things.
In light of these positives, it was all-too-demoralizing to read about the harassment Israeli fans in Moscow faced at the hands of some Tunisian fans. See here.
Oh well, ho-um, another day at the office in the Middle East….