A former Minister of State Property in Tunisia has warned that Israel intends to demand a huge amount of financial compensation from the government in respect of the property left behind by Jews who left the country to move to the Zionist state. Hatem El-Echi confirmed this on Facebook on Monday.
"In 2015, I met Ms Laura Baeza, the EU Ambassador in Tunisia… and she confirmed that Israel had asked her to inform us of its intention to demand an enormous amount of financial compensation for the property of Jewish citizens who fled Tunisia in 1967 and 1973," El-Echi confirmed. "She said that the Israelis are determined to do this."
This had been mentioned by parliamentarian and journalist Safi Saeed in an interview with the host of Wahch Echacha television show. "The Israelis," said Saeed, "are serious about this."
El-Echi pointed out that he explained to the ambassador that the Jews who fled Tunisia are Tunisian citizens and their properties are still there, and Israel has nothing to do with it. "She promised me to communicate my answer to the Israeli authorities, and she did not contact me after that."
He did not tell the then Prime Minister Habib Essid because he did not consider it a priority. "Israel can pressure Tunisia to pay compensation at any time, and I do not know if normalisation will be presented as an alternative to paying money," added the former minister. "The sums mentioned are very large and exceed Tunisia's budget. The ambassador mentioned it to me personally, and I do not want to talk about how much because it is frightening."
Only a small percentage of Jews stayed in Tunisia. Most of them live on the island of Djerba, home of the Ghriba Synagogue, which is the oldest Jewish building in Africa.
Israeli news outlets have reported the occupation state's readiness to demand compensation from eight countries worth around $250 billion in respect of the properties of Jews who were "forced" to leave their countries after the establishment of Israel. It seems that the first two of these countries will be Tunisia and Libya; Israel is expected to demand $35 billion from Tunisia and $15 billion from Libya. The other countries are reported to be Morocco, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and Iran.