A Tunisian Jewish Appointed New Tourism Minister

Tunisian Jewish businessman Rene Trabelsi has been appointed new tourism minister in a partial cabinet reshuffle that the Prime Minister Youssef Chahed hopes will add new momentum to the cabinet.

Twelve other ministers were appointed but key portfolios such as finance, foreign affairs and the interior were kept unchanged.

“This reshuffle is to make the work of government more effective and to put an end to the political and economic crisis,” Chahed said in a statement.

Tunisia is not the first Muslim majority country in North Africa to have appointed a Jewish as a minister. Serge Berdugo used to be tourism minister during the reign of Hassan II and laer was appointed ambassador at large in 2006.

Tunisia’s Trabelsi from the island of Jerba is the third member of the Jewish community – numbered at about 2,000 – to enter the cabinet since Tunisia’s independence from France in 1956.

Tunisia has been hailed for its democratic transition since the 2011 Arab Spring, but the North African country has been hit by an economic crisis and armed attacks since then.

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