On Sunday, a Libyan rabbi’s burial will be completed, 67 years after his brutal murder. Rabbi Yosef Teshuva was killed in 1945 in a pogrom in Libya which was aided and abetted by British soldiers. Libyan Jewish historian Pedatzur Ben-Attia relayed the tale to Arutz Sheva.
More than 130 Jews were killed in the 1945 pogrom, which lasted for three days. During that time, British soldiers prevented Jewish soldiers from the Land of Israel who served in the British Army from entering the region to extend help to their Jewish brethren.
Instead, local Arabs continued to rape, maim and murder unchecked. Rabbi Teshuva was stabbed to death by a group of Arab men who attacked him as he was learning Gemara.
Rabbi Teshuva’s son took his father’s blood-soaked coat with him as a memento before fleeing to Israel. For decades he kept the coat hidden in a suitcase in his home.
The suitcase was discovered after the son’s death. His family asked rabbis what should be done with the coat. They were advised to bury it, in accordance with Jewish law, in which every part of the deceased’s body and blood are buried.
The coat is to be buried in the cemetery in the Vatikim neighborhood of Netanya at 5:45 p.m. Sunday.
Among Rabbi Teshuva’s descendants is grandson Yitzchak Teshuva, one of Israel’s best-known and wealthiest businessmen.
There is much about Libyan Jewish history that remains unknown to the public, Ben-Attia said. “Many don’t know how much Zionism there was in the Libyan community, how many deserts they crossed to reach Israel, how they boarded rickety ships; how young women married soldiers who had come from the Land of Israel in fictitious ceremonies in order to reach the land with them, how young men disguised themselves as soldiers,” he said.
Ben-Attia heads the Or Shalom center, which aims to record Libyan Jewish history and teach it to the Israeli public.