Libyan official in London calls for Jews to return

A high-ranking Libyan official has called for Libyan Jews to return to their country, Rachel Fletcher of The Jewish Chronicle reports.

Dr Mohamed Al Jarari, director of the Libyan Studies Centre – the equivalent of a government department – came to London specifically for a conference of Libyan Jews, held at SOAS last week.

Dr Al Jarari said that Libya must remember its heritage and added: “I would like the Libyan Jews to come back – not anybody else.”

But he denied that Libyan Jews had been forced out, saying that was the ‘wrong assessment’. (..)

Dr Al Jarari later told the gathering that Libyan Jews had been ‘compelled to leave due to harsh circumstances’ and that other Libyan tribes had also been displaced throughout history. He said it was the first time he had been invited to the annual conference and that he was ‘delighted’ to attend. (..)

Mr (Raphael) Luzon, vice-chairman of the Union of Jews of Libya told the JC that it was ‘very important’ that official Libyans had attended, saying: ” It has been 40 years since the last expulsion of Libyan Jews from Libya, after 2,300 years. Never have we had even a minimal opening from the Libyan regime. They all accepted with great enthusiasm.”

Mr Luzon, who later lit candles for his relatives buried in an unknown Libyan location, also called for restitution of property left in Libya by the departing Jews.

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