Libya’s Jewish community leader, Luzon, says David Gerbi not entitled to speak for the community

  • Libyan Express |
  • Thursday 29 September 2016

Raphael Luzon, visits his birthplace and the old city of Tripoli for the first time on July 30, 2010 (Getty Images)

Raphael Luzon, the head of Jews of Libya abroad, told Ean Libya News Portal on Thursday that David Gerbi, who went into exile in Italy at age 12 after the 1967 Six-Day War spurred attacks on Tripoli Jews is not a member at the Jewish community and has no official title whatsoever to allow him to take part or speak on behalf of Libya’s Jews in any pertaining meeting.

Luzon expressed his ache to see peace and stability across Libya once again, and for it to become a country embracing its people under one legitimate government that can be consented by all Libyans.

“Libya’s Jews, who were sent to exile by force and as a result of international conspiracies and had to live in many different countries other than their own, wish that Libya’s current crises come to an end and that all the conflicting parties sit on one table and engage in a dialogue to reach peace and stability.” Luzon indicated.

Luzon has so far visited Libya three times, two of which took place during Gaddafi’s region. However, his third visit was post the 17 February revolution in which he was taken captive by security forces in Benghazi.

He was promised the rights to citizenship by Gaddafi’s senior officials, and was expecting to receive another invitation in 2011 during which he receives all papers proving his Libyan citizenship. However, with the revolution taking place, everything was turned upside down and gone with the wind.

Libya’s Jews can trace their history back some 2,500 years, long before Arab tribes ever settled the territory. Yet most left the country soon after the establishment of the so-called state of Israel in 1948.

The next exodus of about 4,000 Jews occurred in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War. By the time Qaddafi seized power two years later, there were only 100 Jews left. He exacerbated their plight, as well as that of the Jewish exiles, by confiscating all property owned by Jews and by canceling all debts owed to those Libyan Jews whose property had already been seized or destroyed.

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