Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gaddafi schedules talk to Libyan Jews on Shabbat

The Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi arrives in Italy today for a four-day visit. He wants to talk restitution to former Libyan Jews, but the only day he is free to meet them is the Jewish Sabbath:

ROME (Reuters) - Rome's Jewish community, some of whom were forced to leave Libya 40 years ago, are angry over Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's apparent willingness to meet them only on Saturday, the Sabbath day sacred to Jews.

Community leaders also want Gaddafi, who arrives in Rome on Wednesday for his first visit to Italy, to tell them the whereabouts of a Palestinian who was sentenced for a 1982 attack on a Rome synagogue and found asylum in Libya.

"At the very least this shows a lack of sensitivity," Riccardo Pacifici, president of Rome's Jewish community, told Reuters. "But it is also a matter of principle. We won't go as a community unless the day is changed."

Libyan organizers of the trip have invited the Jews to attend a meeting -- along with Italians who were expelled from the country in the early 1970s -- planned for Saturday in a tent being set up for Gaddafi in a sprawling Rome park.

The Sabbath, or Shabbat, is a day of rest during which Jews cannot work. Many of Rome's Jews are observant, including Shalom Tshuva, a Libyan who is a deputy president of Rome's Jewish community and head of Libyan Jews in Italy.

Pacifici said he did not understand why organizers could not have scheduled the meeting for another day when observant Jews could attend. The community has asked for a change.

"If any Jew goes to the meeting it will be as an individual and not as an official member of the community," he said.

The Jewish community in the former Italian colony, which traces its origins to Roman times, numbered about 38,000 at the end of World War Two. But it declined steadily after anti-Jewish pogroms in 1945 and 1948.

By the time Israel won the Six-Day War against Arab nations in 1967, the community had dwindled to about 7,000.

Following Israel's victory, anti-Jewish riots broke out and nearly all Libyan Jews were evacuated to Italy for safety.

"The Libyan government told them they could not protect them. So they had to choose between staying and getting killed or fleeing," said Vivienne Roumani-Denn, a U.S.-based Libyan Jew and maker of the 2007 documentary film "The Last Jews of Libya."

After he came to power in 1969, the vehemently anti-Israel Gaddafi confiscated all Jewish property and canceled all debts to Jews. The Jewish community in Libya is now virtually non-existent.

Jews say they want to know if Gaddafi is sincerely interested in compensation to Libyan Jews.

Read article in full

Ynet News article


3 comments:

Suzanne said...

He's a clown. Not worth the attention he gets.

Anonymous said...

Then, there's this:

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/06/09/75375.html

Favorite comment:
Bouzaid said the Jewish issue was very sensitive in Algeria but argued that handling the issue realistically would play a major role in solving many of the problems Algeria has faced for decades. "What I mean by 'realistically' is learning from the experience of other Arab countries like Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen in the way they preserved their Jewish communities and treated them as citizens," Bouzaid said, adding "'Realistically' also means knowing the difference between Jews and Israel." --

Spoken almost as the last Jews of Yemen are being airlifted out....

Heather

truth said...

brava suzane...he really is a Clown. pagliacio as is said in italian. the fool only wants beautiful girls who are 1.7 tall and he starts his presentation in italy with 'i am for women' muh...im happy that litle by little the people of the world are starting to laugh at this kind of idiot and the idiotic muslim population