For the Persian Gulf bagpipe, see jirba
"Gerba Island" redirects here. For the Northern Australian island also known as "Gerbar", see Gabba Island
IPA: [ˈʒɪrbæ] (listen)
), Italian: Meninge or Girba, also transliterated
is, at 514 square kilometers (198 sq mi), is a Tunisian island and the largest island of North Africa
, located in the Gulf of Gabès
off the coast of Tunisia
. It had a population of 139,544 at the 2004 Census which rose to 163,726 at the 2014 Census. Citing the long and unique Jewish minority's
history Djerba has had in the past, Tunisia has sought UNESCO World Heritage status
protections for the island.
Legend has it that Djerba was the island of the lotus-eaters
was stranded on his voyage through the Mediterranean sea. The tradition of the Jewish minority of Djerba says in the year 586 BC, some of the Israelite temple priests who were able to escape the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple there, settled in Djerba; an unusually high percentage of Jews on the island to this day maintain family status of the priestly caste, and a genetic link has been confirmed by DNA testing.
The island had three principal towns. One of these, whose modern name is Būrgū,
is found near Midoun
in the center of the island. Another city, on the southeast coast of the island at Meninx
, was a major producer of priceless murex
dye, and is cited by Pliny the Elder
as second only to Tyre
in this regard. A third important town was the ancient Haribus
. The island was densely inhabited in the Roman and Byzantine periods, and probably imported much of the grain consumed by its inhabitants. The island appears in the 13th century (with possible 4th century origins) Peutinger Map
Ghazi Mustapha Fort, Djerba, Tunisia
During the Middle Ages, Djerba was occupied by Ibadi
Muslims, who claimed it as their own. The Christians of Sicily and Aragon disputed this claim with the Ibadites. Remains from this period include numerous small mosques dating from as early as the twelfth century, as well as two substantial forts.
The island was controlled twice by the Norman Kingdom of Sicily
: in *1135–1158 and in *1284–1333. During the second of these periods it was organised as a feudal lordship, with the following Lords of Jerba: 1284–1305: Roger I
1305–1307, and 1307–1310: Roger II (twice)
1310: Francis-Roger III.
There were also royal governors, whose times in power partially overlapped with those of the Lords: c. 1305–1308: Simon de Montolieu
1308–1315: Ramon Muntaner
In 1513, after three years in exile in Rome, the Fregosi family returned to Genoa
, Ottaviano was elected Doge, and his brother, Archbishop Federigo Fregoso
), having become his chief educator, was placed at the head of the army, and defended the republic against internal dangers (revolts of the Adorni and the Fieschi) and external dangers, notably suppression of the Barbary piracy: Cortogoli, a corsair from Tunis
, blockaded the coast with a squadron, and within a few days had captured eighteen merchantmen; being given the command of the Genoese fleet, in which Andrea Doria
was serving, Federigo surprised Cortogoli before Bizerta. Soon after, he carried out an invasion and occupation of the island and returned to Genoa with great booty.
This section may be too long and excessively detailed.
Please consider summarizing the material while citing sources
as needed.(January 2019)
According to their oral history, the Jewish minority has dwelled on the island continuously for more than 2,500 years.
The first physical evidence that historians know of come from the 11th century found in Cairo Geniza
This community is unique in the Jewish diaspora for its unusually high percentage of Kohanim
(Hebrew; the Jewish priestly caste), direct patrilineal
descendants of Aaron
the first high priest from Mosaic times.
Local tradition tells that when Nebuchadnezzar II
leveled Solomon's temple
and lay waste to Judah and the city of Jerusalem in the year 586 BC, among the refugees who avoided slavery were the Kohanim who settled in Djerba.
A key point in this oral history has been backed up by genetic tests for Cohen modal haplotype
showing that the vast majority of male Jews on Djerba claiming the family status of Cohen had a common ancient male ancestor which matches that of nearly all of both historically European and Middle Eastern Jewish males with a family history of patrilineal membership in the Jewish priestly caste.
Thus, the island has been known by many Jews as the island of the Kohanim
. During the destruction of the temple, the Kohanim, who were serving the temple at the time of destruction escaped from Jerusalem and found themselves on the island of Djerba.
The legend claims the Kohanim carried the door and some stones from the Temple in Jerusalem which they then incorporated into the "marvelous synagogue", also known as Ghriba
, which still stands in Djerba.
The Jewish community differs from others in Djerba in their dress, personal names, and accents. The Jewish rabbinate of Djerba have established an eruv
, which establishes the communal area in the city in which Jews can freely carry objects between their homes and community buildings on Shabbat
Some traditions that are distinctive of the Jewish Djerba community is the kiddush
prayer said on the eve of Passover
and a few prophetic passages on certain Shabbats of the year.
One of the community's synagogues, the El Ghriba synagogue
, has been in continuous use for over 2,000 years.
The Jews were settled in two main communities: the Hara Kabira ("the big quarter") and the Hara Saghira ("the small quarter"). The Hara Saghira identified itself with Israel, while the Hara Kabira identified with Spain and Morocco.
The next influx of Jewish people to the Island of Djerba was during the Spanish Inquisition, when the Iberian Jewish population was no longer welcome and were forced to leave.
The Jewish population hit its peak during the time that Tunisia was fighting for independence from France 1881–1956.
In 1940, there were approximately 100,000 Jewish-Tunisians or 15% of the entire population of Tunisia.
In the aftermath of World War II, the Jewish population on the island declined significantly due to emigration to Israel
and France. As of 2011, the Jewish permanent resident community on the island numbered about 1,000,
but many return annually on pilgrimage. However, once the State of Israel was established, and political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa was building up many Jewish people left Tunisia.
Although the Jewish community of Tunisia was on the decline, the Jewish community of Hara Kebira witnessed an increase of population due to its traditional character.
The community on Djerba remains one of the last remaining fully intact Jewish communities in an Arab majority country after most were abandoned in the face of anti-Israel and antisemitic pressure and pogroms. The most traditionally observant Jewish community is growing because of large natural families despite emigration and a new Orthodox Jewish
school for girls has recently been inaugurated on the Island to serve alongside the two boy's yeshiva
schools. According to The Wall Street Journal
"Relations between Jews and Muslims are complex—proper and respectful, though not especially close. Jewish men work alongside Arab merchants in the souk
, for example, and enjoy amicable ties with Muslim customers."
The historical conflicts between Muslims and Jewish people have been largely absent in Djerba. This is reportedly attributed to the fact that all the people of the island were at some point Jewish and therefore share similar practices in their ways of life.
Some of these Jewish practices that can be seen in Muslim households in Djerba are the lighting of candles on Friday night, and the suspending of matzot
on the ceiling from one spring to the next.
The Jewish and Muslim communities have coexisted peacefully in Djerba despite political unrest regarding the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The people of Djerba say that the two communities simply pray in different places, but are still able to converse.
A Jewish leader once stated "We live together, We visit our friends on their religious holidays. We work together. Muslims buy meat from our butchers. When we are forbidden to work or cook on the Shabbat, we buy bread and kosher food
cooking by Muslims. Our children play together".
On 11 April 2002, Al-Qaeda
claimed responsibility for a truck bomb attack
close to the famous synagogue, killing 21 people (14 German tourists, 5 Tunisians and 2 French nationals).
Since the "Arab Spring
", the Tunisian government has extended their protection and encouraged Jewish life on the island of Djerba.
Citing the long and unique Jewish history on Djerba, Tunisia has sought UNESCO World Heritage status for the island.
There are currently 14 synagogues, 2 yeshivot
, and 3 kosher eateries.
A Jewish school on the island was firebombed
during the national protests held in 2018
, while security forces in Djerba were reduced, being preoccupied with protection efforts elsewhere.
This attack was among many other uprisings that were occurring throughout Tunisia at the time.
The city Girba in the Roman province
(mostly in modern Libya), which gave its name to the island, was important enough to become a suffragan bishop
of its capital's archbishopric. Known Bishops of antiquity include:
- Proculus (Maximus Bishop fl.393)
- Quodvultdeus (Catholic Bishop fl.401–411) attending Council of Carthage (411)
- Euasius (Donatist Bishop fl.411) rival at Council of Carthage
- Urbanus (Catholic bishop fl.445–454)
- Faustinus (Catholic bishop fl. 484), exiled by King Huneric of the Vandal Kingdom
- Vincentius (Catholic bishop fl. 523–525)
The 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia
lists only two: "At least two bishops of Girba are known, Monnulus and Vincent, who assisted at the Councils, of Carthage in 255 and 525".
Titular see of Girba
The Ancient diocese of Girba was nominally restored in 1895 as a Latin titular bishopric
of the lowest (episcopal) rank.
It has had the following incumbents :
Administration and population
The island comprises three of the delegations
within the Tunisian Département of Médenine
. Named after the three towns which form their administrative centers, these delegations, with their areas and their 2004 and 2014 Census populations, are:
Berber villages of Tunisia
, a Berber language
, called chelha
by its speakers, is spoken in some villages, including Guellala, Azdyuch, Sedouikech and Ouirsighen. These village are bilingual, because of the integration with Arabs of Djerba
Religion in Djerba
Djerba has hot dry summers and mild winters and has fertile soil. However, until the introduction of the current levels of advanced irrigation
and piped water supplies,[when?]
the month of October tended to supply approximately 25% of its total annual rainfall on the island (see table below). Summer daytime temperatures regularly reach very high levels, making early human habitation less favoured than the north of the country.
Migratory bird sanctuary
Most of the hotels and beaches are part of Midoun city.
The commune and port of Ajim
in the southwest corner of the island and its surrounding areas were used as filming locations for Star Wars
. Tourists can visit buildings featured in the original movie, including Obi-Wan Kenobi
's house and the Mos Eisley
The Station ID for Djerba is 57070211.
- ^ a b c ‹See Tfd›Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Jerba" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 322.
- ^ ^ Transliteration from http://www.uconv.com/ar.htm
- ^ a b Center, UNESCO World Heritage. "Regional Workshop on the World Heritage Nomination Process". UNESCO World Heritage Center. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- ^ Polybius; Strabo 1.2.17.
- ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica, §M451.1
- ^ Polybius, Histories, §1.39.2
- ^ Strabo, Geography, §2.5.20
- ^ Strabo, Geography, §17.3.17
- ^ E. Fentress, A. Drine and R. Holod, eds. An Island in Time: Jerba Studies vol 1. The Punic and Roman Periods. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary series 71,2009.
- ^ Teich, Shmuel (1982). The Rishonim. Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications. ISBN 978-0-89906-452-9.
- ^ a b International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Tunisia. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (14 September 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- ^ a b c d e f g Udovitch, Abraham L.; Valensi, Lucette (1984). The Last Arab Jews: The Communities of Jerba, Tunisia. London, England: Harwood Academic Publishers. pp. 8–11, 24–25. ISBN 978-3-7186-0135-6.
- ^ a b c "WATCH: Candle lighting in Djerba – a Jewish community to admire – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post". jpost.com. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- ^ "Tunisia's Diverse Djerba Island and Its Annual Jewish Pilgrimage". 2 June 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- ^ Schroeter, Daniel (1985). "Review of The Last Arab Jews: The Communities of Jerba, Tunisia, (Social Orders 1.)". Middle East Studies Association Bulletin. 19 (1): 63–64. doi:10.1017/S0026318400014905. JSTOR 23057816.
- ^ "Tunisian Cleric Says Jews are Apes". Israel National News. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- ^ Spector, Shmuel; Wigoder, Geoffrey (2001). The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust: A-J. New York: NYU Press. p. 312. ISBN 978-0-8147-9376-3.
- ^ a b c d e Widman, Miriam (19 December 1994). "Behind The Headlines: Amid Sea of Muslim Neighbors, Tunisia Jews Observe Traditions". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
- ^ Ettinger, Yair (17 January 2011). "Sociologist Claude Sitbon, do the Jews of Tunisia have reason to be afraid?". Haaretz. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- ^ Lagnado, Lucette (13 February 2015). "Tunisian Jewish Enclave Weathers Revolt, Terror; Can It Survive Girls' Education?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 December 2018 – via www.wsj.com.
- ^ a b Hanley, Delinda C. (December 2003). "Tunisian Jews Enjoy Religious Tolerance and Peace In Djerba". The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. 22 (10). pp. 46–49.
- ^ Tunisian bomb attack trial opens, BBC.co.UK; accessed 28 July 2020.
- ^ a b "Tunisian Jewish school attacked as anti-government protests rage elsewhere". Reuters. 11 January 2018.
- ^ Vailhé, S. (1909). "Girba". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- ^ "Les normales climatiques en Tunisie entre 1981 2010" (in French). Ministère du Transport. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- ^ "Données normales climatiques 1961–1990" (in French). Ministère du Transport. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- ^ "Les extrêmes climatiques en Tunisie" (in French). Ministère du Transport. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- ^ "Réseau des stations météorologiques synoptiques de la Tunisie" (in French). Ministère du Transport. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
- ^ "Jerba Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- ^ "Station Djerba" (in French). Météo Climat. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- ^ "Djerba Climate and Weather Averages, Tunisia". Weather2Travel. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- ^ "Djerba, Tunisia – Climate data". Weather Atlas. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
- ^ "Tunisia – Ramsar". www.ramsar.org. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- ^ Éternelle Djerba, Tunis, Association de sauvegarde de l'île de Djerba et Société tunisienne des arts graphiques, 1998, p. 21
- ^ Elusia. "Z – ZONE TOURISTIQUE". Djerba, un abécédaire (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- ^ The Star Wars Traveler by Gus Lopez and Pamela Gren.
- ^ Loms Galactic Tours by Loms
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Djerba
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Djerba
Last edited on 2 May 2021, at 05:11
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