Libyan-born David Gerbi used an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican to deplore the fact that Jews who had been driven out of Libyan and the Arab world had not been recognised as refugees. Report in Moked, the newsletter of the Italian-Jewish community:
“Never remain silent in the face of injustice. For the wind to change, on the contrary, it is essential to denounce, act, mobilize. Work for a different future.”
This is the message that the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Argentina Isaac Sacca shared with Pope Francis during a private audience in the Vatican which was attended by Argentinian and Brazilian Jewish representatives. This was an occasion, in the context of an intense exchange of ideas, to present the variety of philanthropic activities in support of children’s rights and assistance to less developed countries sponsored by Rav Sacca.
David Gerbi was also part of the Jewish delegation. Gerbi, president of the ASTREL association, has in recent months promoted many initiatives dedicated to the Jews of Libya, their history and culture (most recently at the Beth El Temple in Rome ). With the Pope Gerbi addressed the failure to recognize the “refugee ” status of those who lived through the pain of exile from Libya and the rest of the Arab world. He has collected to-date several dozen testimonies of Libyan Jews on the trauma of ’67 and its aftermath.
“We are forgotten refugees, ” he wrote recently, “because we have not made enough noise. Our silence derives from the fact that we have invested the time, energy and effort to rebuild our life in an honest way and without disturbing anyone “. “But now”, he says, “it’s time to let us to be heard.”