Raphael Luzon, who came to the UK in 2001, said he had been invited to take part in the process by Muhammed al-Hosh, president of the High Council of Reconciliation. Luzon said it was “historic” that he had been appointed an “observer and representative of Libyan Jews” in the country’s newly-established Council of Sheikhs, which is the equivalent of Libya’s upper chamber or Senate.
Speaking to Jewish News, he said: “The current constitution, which dates from the days of the King in 1951, talks about equal rights for all citizens, but I am trying to introduce a line that says this should be irrespective of religion.”
He added: “While there is some reluctance from the Salafists [fundamentalists] most Libyans agree that something like this is needed.”
The activist, who chairs the Union of Libyan Jews, was born in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi but was forced to flee during a pogrom as a result of the 1967 Six Day War fought between Israel and Arab states. He has since been back several times, including in 2012, when he was briefly abducted. As a result of this, he said he would participate in the drafting via Skype “despite a lot of pressure on me to travel back."
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