Gerbi forced from synagogue by armed men

David Gerbi (right) talks to rebel militiamen (photo:Reuters)


According to a Reuters report carried by Haaretz, the Libyan Jew who returned to the country in hopes of resurrecting its Jewish community after the fall of Muammar Gadhafi said on Monday that armed men had forced him from the Tripoli synagogue which he had hoped to restore. David Gerbi’s faltering mission to Libya has become a test case: is the country too racist to handle Jews? (With thanks: Sylvia)

David Gerbi, who went aged 12 into exile in Italy after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war spurred attacks on Tripoli Jews, told reporters he was trying to resume cleaning at the long-shuttered synagogue, only to find its door locked. Residents of the area then warned him to flee, he said.

A man came and said, ‘You need to stop now. There are men coming with guns and you will be killed,'” said Gerbi, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “I Love Libya” and holding a scroll inscribed with “Yahweh”, the Hebrew word for God.

A companion of Gerbi’s said four men armed with rifles had come to the synagogue as he tried to enter.

Gerbi, who cultivated ties with Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) during the uprising that toppled Gadhafi, said the incident would force the NTC to confront anti-Jewish prejudice following its pledges to build a democratic state that respects civil and human rights following decades of dictatorship.

Read article in full

Returning Jew says threatened over temple (AFP)

NPR report

CBS News report

Bloomberg report

Al Arabiya: Controversy over a Tripoli synagogue (David Gerbi becomes Daoud al-Jibri)

AP report in The Guardian

Note: “Jews are widely despised in the Arab world because of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians”, says this piece, but fails to explain why 136 Jews were murdered in a pogrom three years before the establishment of Israel, nor why Jewish citizens of Libya should have become fair game for victimisation as ‘Israelis’. See timeline here.

Harry’s Place: no return of any kind (with thanks: Lily)

Italian Jew, Libyan rebel: Long feature about Gerbi in Corriere della Sera (Italian – with thanks: Eliyahu)


  • It is true that they are despised, but not solely because of the Israel-Arab conflict. They were despised for centuries as dhimmis, which makes Israel's Arab humiliation in four wars so hard to bear.

  • Jews are widely despised says CBS news. shocking but true!
    How many deaths and slaps in the face are necessary to convince some that it is true?
    I think Mr.Gerbi is "un doux dingue" as they say in French!
    suzy vidal


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