Romain Rouillard / Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / QUIRINALE PRESS OFFICE 19:29 pm, September 19, 2023

During a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmed Hachani and members of his government, Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed said that the name "Daniel", given to the storm, responsible for deadly floods in Libya, was a witness to the influence of the Zionist movement.

This is a theme that comes up regularly in the mouth of Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed. This Monday, during a ministerial meeting, the leader split a new controversial statement about a supposed "Zionist influence", report several media including Le Figaro and TV5 Monde. This time, it was the name Daniel, attributed to the storm responsible for deadly floods in Libya, which triggered the ire of the head of state.

A Hebrew-sounding name, sharply criticized by the person concerned. "Didn't they think about the meaning of the name Daniel? He is a Hebrew prophet!" he said. Before launching into a risky explanation: "This demonstrates that the Zionist movement has completely infiltrated and altered intellectual thought, making it pass into a state of total intellectual coma."

"Conspiracy and anti-Semitic delusion"

In reality, the naming of storms is a competence of the WMO, the World Meteorological Organization, as recalled by the media Business News. Lists, developed by the National Hurricane Center since 1953, are updated and maintained by the WMO. Six in number, they are used in rotation and mix male and female names. In other words, "the name chosen for the storm in Libya has nothing to do with the Zionist movement, the name chosen is based on an alphabetical order," the outlet wrote.


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Kaïs Saïed's remarks sparked a wave of indignant reactions on social networks. "New conspiracy and anti-Semitic delirium of the Tunisian president, Kaïs Saïed. The indecency that surfs on thousands of deaths in Libya," writes, among others, the author, journalist and political activist Amine Snoussi on X (ex-Twitter). Especially since the Tunisian president is not at his first attempt. On several occasions, the head of state has described the normalization of ties between Tunisia and Israel as a crime of "high treason", while affirming, on the evening of his election, that Zionism aims to "exterminate the Palestinian people".

New conspiracy & antisemite delirium of the Tunisian president, Kais Saied. The name of Storm Daniel (Hurricane Derna) would be proof of the growing Zionist influence!

The indecency that surfs on thousands of deaths in Libya.

— Amine Snoussi (@amin_snoussi) September 18, 2023

More recently, last February, the leader provoked indignation after statements that targeted, this time, immigration of sub-Saharan African origin. He said the presence of "hordes of illegal migrants" on Tunisian soil was a source of "violence, crimes and unacceptable acts". Last May, however, he refuted any state anti-Semitism after the attack on a synagogue in Djerba, which killed four people.