In a drastic departure from years past, the ancient Jewish community on the southern Tunisian island of Djerba was silent this Lag B’Omer.

A bare 200 to 300 Jews – a far cry from the tens of thousands who typically gather to celebrate the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the second-century author of the Kabbalistic source text known as the Zohar – made their way to the El Ghriba Synagogue Sunday. They lit candles, and according to Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Shmuel Pinson, “that was it.”

“There was no parade this year,” he stated.

Citing security concerns, communal officials cancelled the widely-popular celebration at the request of the North African country’s interim government.

“There were several reasons,” explained Pinson, who while based in Brussels, regularly travels to the country and helps coordinate community programs. “Police claimed that, being that there was a revolution, it would not be fair for Jews to celebrate while Arabs around them are suffering.”

In addition, “two terrorists from the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb organization were caught just a half hour from the community,” said the rabbi. “And there was an Al Qaeda terrorist attack recently in Morocco.”

Adding to the complexity of internal affairs in the country where the so-called “Arab Spring” was born, an influx of Libyan refugees have made Djerba their temporary home.

National elections are currently set for July 24, but officials are considering the possibility of postponing the polls due to ongoing unrest.