Back On Libyan Soil
08/17/10
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 Raphael Luzon was bar-mitzvah age when he left his home and his homeland. Along with most of Libya’s 7,000 remaining Jews, Luzon’s family fled, virtually empty-handed in 1967, after anti-Jewish riots threatened the Jewish community following Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War.

Luzon settled in England, but his heart stayed in Libya.

One recent day, after two years of lobbying, he received a phone call from a Libyan consul in Britain — Libya’s government, which had barred Jews from returning for four decades, was granting Luzon permission to go there.

Two days later Luzon was back in Libya, with his sister and octogenarian mother.

It was like “a dream,” he said, according to middle-east-online.com.

Chairman of the Jewish Libyan Community in England, he visited his birthplace in Benghazi, which is on the Mediterranean 600 miles east of Tripoli.

“We … met our loved ones amid tears and great longing for friends we have never forgotten,” Luzon said. He also met several Libyan officials.

In recent years, Libya has indicated that it would compensate Jews who were forced to flee the country.

Jews have lived in Libya for more than two millennia. The Jewish population, which was about 20,000 early in the 20th century and peaked at over 30,000 in the 1940s; it quickly dropped after anti-Jewish violence in 1945 after North Africa was liberated by Allied troops, and after more riots in 1948. Most Libyan Jews went to Israel or to Italy, which had earlier colonized Libya.

By 1967 some 7,000 remained, Luzon’s family among them. About 100 were there when Col. Muammar Gaddafi came to power in 1969.

The last known Jew of Libya left in 2003.

“Everyone is really in love with Libya. I have no sentiment of revenge or spirit of hatred,” Luzon told reporters, back on Libyan soil. “All the Jewish community [outside of Libya] is waiting for my return so I can tell them about the results of this visit. All the Libyan Jews living in Palestine and Europe and America, and there are 110,000 Jews of them, yearn for Libya and wish to return, or just to visit.”

Today, Luzon is back in London, and the Jewish population of Libya again is zero.

 

Last Update:

08/19/2010 - 08:17

Comments

Who will compensate for it? Libya will compensate the Jews or the Jews will make up for the Palestinians?.
Mr. Luzon is being used by the Qadhafi regime. Five years ago Luzon told me "Qadhafi ordered the destruction of all Jewish cemeteries in Benghazi and Tripoli. Despite Qadhafi's recent declarations that Libyan Jews are welcome to come back and visit, Libyan authorities have refused to grant me permission to visit Libya three times." ( http://www.meforum.org/878/libya-and-the-us-qadhafi-unrepentant ) So the Libyan regime gave Mr. Luzon permission to visit and promise for compensation, what about the graves that were destroyed as a result of Qadhafi's orders? I don't know about Mr. Luzon's core values but those graves are more precious to me than any compensation or permission to visit Libya. Courageous Libyans like Fathi Eljahmi, died for the right to return to Libya without preconditions and the right to free speech. Shame on Luzon and shame on those who sell out their souls to Qadhafi's regime or any other Arab dictator. There can never be genuine change or peaceful transition if victims of bigotry and hate weaken and lose resolve then fall victim to the manipulations of Qadhafi. I hope Mr. Luzon comes to his senses and see right from wrong.
What is circulated in the media is incorrect from a historical perspective. The majority of Libyan jews left the country in 1948 shortly after the creation of the state of Israel and not very many were left after the six day war. Additionally, counter to what is claimed by many Libyan jews, there were never forced out of the country but sought to immigrate elswhere. Furthermore, jewish real estate and money in Libya were never touched or confiscated by Libyan authorities or the Libyan public since the Libyan jews left. If that is the case, why do Libyan jews ask to be compensated by the Libyan government. They are only entitled to what they left since 1948 and nothing more. Libyan jews were very welcoming to the Italian occupation of Libya in 1911 and even helped the Italians in pursuing many freedom fighters that resisited the cruel and barbaric armies of the Duci. Should the Libyan people compensate people that helped the occupier catch and execute the oppressed Libyans in many Libyan cities? What is even more obsurd is to let these Libyan jews come back. The next thing for them is to claim Libya as gods chosen land for gods chosen people. I beleive that the Libyan public will be strongly oppossed to a full fledged return of Libyan jews and for their compensation. This will be the logical response to propositons and ideas that make no sense. Why doesn't Israel compensate Palestians for all the death and destruction that has happened to them by none other than jews over the years. Are there not hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees all over the world? Whay can't the be compensated and offered to return to their homeland. It seems like double standards to any person in their right mind.
You are writing lies knowing that you are falsifing the History. At June 1967 the Jews in Libya were nearly 7000! They left properties, lands, money and assets for about 1 Billion dollars (UN sources). In the June 67 riots has been massacred 16 Jews! Between them the whole Family of my Uncle! Despite all this I love Libya and I have no sentiment of revenge. At least tell and write the truth!

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