Daily Israel Report

Libyan Jews Want to Go Home, Says Leader

The fall of Muammar Qaddafi has caused some Libyan Jews to wish to return to their homeland, according to a Libyan Jewish leader.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/28/2011, 3:13 AM

Qaddafi
Qaddafi
Flash 90

The fall of former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi has caused Libyan Jews to wish to return to their homeland and resume the great heritage they established there, a Libyan Jewish leader told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday.

Meir Kachlon, Chairman of the World Organization of Libyan Jews, said that his organization has created an excellent relationship with the opposition leaders who took power instead of Qaddafi.

“We sent Dr. David Gerbi, who is a psychologist by profession, to help those who were affected by the civil war in the country,” Kachlon said. “We received a letter from opposition leader Abdul Jalil who asked us to provide humanitarian assistance. We have contacts all over the world and we told him that we are happy to help him.”

The World Organization of Libyan Jews last summer formally recognized the National Transitional Council, headed by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, as the country’s new regime. The organization is comprised of some 200,000 former refugees, many of whom fled to Israel.

Kachlon said on Tuesday that there are Jews who currently live in Europe and who left considerable property in Libya and that those Jews wish to go back to their place of birth.

“We hope they establish a democratic government and those Jews can return to Libya,” he said. “Recently the only synagogue in Tripoli that was not destroyed was cleaned up. There is a large percentage of Libyan Jews who fled to Europe and want to go back. We in Israel have no interest to go live there, but we would be happy to visit.”

He said that Qaddafi’s fall gave the Libyan Jews great hope.

“That dictator destroyed and eliminated our entire heritage. He destroyed all the Jewish cemeteries - he threw the bones into the sea and built skyscrapers there. It is no wonder he was murdered on Simchat Torah. Now we hope to restore the massive destruction he left behind.”