Tunisian President Kais Saied reportedly wants closer ties with Israel, but fears repercussions from neighboring Algeria.
By David Hellerman, World Israel News
Israel and Tunisia are probing the possibility of closer ties despite Algerian efforts to thwart the thaw, Israel Hayom reported on Wednesday.
“Expanding the sphere of countries that have ties with Israel has been a consistent Israeli goal, but it is also true that Algeria is still showing a hostile attitude” toward the efforts, a diplomatic source told the paper.
Israel Hayom cited a report in Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website which said Tunisian President Kais Saied seeks closer ties with Israel, but “Algeria is blocking the country from falling into the normalization process.”
According to the report, Saied fears repercussions for Tunisia’s financial and commercial interests in neighboring Algeria.
Tunisia opened an “interest office” in Tel Aviv in 1996, following the Oslo agreement and Israel planned to do open one in Tunis. But Tunisia broke ties with Israel in 2000 when the Second Intifada broke out.
Jews have been living in the North African state for 2,000 years. A wave of antisemitic violence and government decrees in the years after Israel’s creation prompted 40,000 Jews to leave the country in 1956-1967.
Around 1,500 Jews still live in Tunisia.