The Muslim friends of Yoav Hattab, one of the four victims of the attack at the Hyper Chacher kosher supermarket last weekend, cannot understand why he is buried in Israel. The friends, who opened a Facebook page in his memory with eulogies and prayers for his soul in Arabic, were also wondering why they were barred from arriving in Israel for his funeral.
Hattab, who lived in Tunisia, was the son of the rabbi of the Jewish community in Djerba. He had recently returned from a Birthright trip to Israel. He was killed when he took one of the terrorist's guns and tried to shoot him. The gun did not fire and the terrorist shot Hattab dead.
"I'm very saddened that Yoav's family chose to bury their son in Israel," one friend wrote in the page set up by Hattab's Tunisian friends.
"Tunisia is the land of our ancestors, we could have gone to the funeral of one of us and paid our respects. Instead, tomorrow it'll be strangers in Israel who gather around his grave, may his soul be blessed. This event has lost its symbolism."
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Another friend wrote on Hattab's Facebook page: "Yoav, you are a Tunisian, you will be buried in Tunisia, the land of your ancestors. Our government should help your father who wants his son to stay close to his family!"
Talking about Yoav's father, the friend said called him "a great man." He added: "The Tunisian Jews are an important part of our society, and are our brothers."
A relative of Hattab, who was expected to attend the funeral in Israel, asked the friend to delete his post, but her request was met with angry replies.
"Tunisia is your country, Yoav! Yes, this is our brother in arms," a woman called Elodie wrote. Another woman, Bassima, added: "Why delete? We don't understand!"
Another friend took a more conciliatory tone: "You need to understand that for us, secular or Muslim Tunisians, Tunisia is the Promised Land. But for Jews it's Israel, just like some Muslims want to be buried in Mecca."
The friends were also angry at the silence from the Tunisian government following the murder of Hattab and the three other Jewish victims, all of Tunisian descent. In response to a post on the topic made by one of the page's founders, a commenter called Muhammad wrote: "You're entirely Tunisian and no one has the right to take that from you. It's a shame the government and our society forgot that."
Hattab's friends also re-posted some of his personal posts from his own page, presenting him as a Tunisian patriot who strove for unity between the Muslim and Jewish citizens of Tunisia.
Two weeks before he was murdered, Yoav wrote: "We love Tunisia and always will! We have no hatred, and we don't reject anyone, we love life as the sea loves La Goulette (a Tunisian seaport)! Long live Tunisia, our beautiful country!"