Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Jewish disco-owner living in Tunis

Tunis, Tunisia - Patrick Sebag, the owner of the hottest disco-bar in the capital, a pig-farm and a distillery, makes for a peculiar figure in a Muslim country. That the dashing, 30-year-old with a hip hairstyle and perfectly tailored suit is a Jew makes him all the more so, writes Orly Halpern in the Jerusalem Post.

Last month, at a private dinner for visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and then Communications Minister Dalia Itzik, the stylish, soft-spoken businessman described to The Jerusalem Post what it's like to be someone in his position. "We [Jews] have a very good life here," he said, quipping, "[but] if al-Qaeda decided to make an attack in Tunisia, I think I would be the perfect target."

Among the two dozen or so Jews left in the capital, Sebag said he is "almost untouchable."

"It's as if the government decided that if anyone touches a Jew, he will be punished twice as harshly than if he touched someone else. We have protection here."

Perhaps. Yet, Sebag nevertheless expressed concern for his daughter Emma's future.

"She has a Jewish name and I'm afraid this will cause her problems," he said. "Just like those a Palestinian child could have if he went to school in Tel Aviv."

The problem, Sebag said, is what will happen down the line, since there are few Muslim countries left in which Jews still live. "My daughter's generation isn't familiar with Jews," he said, attributing the skewed sense of the Jewish people to its minuscule and dwindling population in Muslim countries.

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