Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki recently visited an exhibition of Tunisian synagogues. The following are excerpts from the visit, which was posted on the Internet on March 16, 2014:
Jewish Community Leader: "Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen... "
President Moncef Marzouki: "Please, come in..."
Jewish Community Leader: "The Dar El-Dhekra Association is happy to welcome you on Purim, which is a very symbolic celebration in Judaism. It commemorates the miracle of Queen Esther, who saved her people from massacre and annihilation at the hands of the Persian empire. Through this exhibition today, our society is delighted to fulfill one of our main objectives: to officially pass the torch of Jewish-Tunisian heritage to young Tunisians of all faiths and backgrounds. [...]
"I thank you again for accepting our invitation. Long live Tunisia, the land of peace and friendly co-existence."
President Moncef Marzouki: "I would like to thank you for inviting me. Let me reiterate that Tunisia is the land of peace, the land of co-existence, the land of brotherhood, a country that rejects all kinds of discrimination between its citizens – whether racial, religious, or sectarian. We are proud of all our Jewish citizens, who have played an important role in the history of this country.
"I always say that we have a shared and pluralistic identity in our country. The Arab-Islamic identity is the basis, but in our history there was a Jewish Tunisia, a Christian Tunisia, an Amazigh Tunisia, and Phoenician Tunisia... All these 'Tunisias' are part and parcel of our culture and civilization, and we should be proud of them. So, happy Purim, and thank you for this initiative. Carry on, and I wish you all success." [...]