Reopening the Dar Bishi synagogue in Tripoli’s old city has long been a dream for David Gerbi, forced to leave Libya aged 12 in 1967. The country’s other 38,000 Jews were expelled by Colonel Gaddafi
The only one who remained was his aunt, who stayed behind to look after the family treasures, and whose departure from a hospice, aged and dying, he negotiated in 2002.
Now he is back, determined to play a part in the NTC’s promised new, tolerant Libya.
“What Gaddafi tried to do is eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the Amazigh language, he tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people. He even destroyed mosques in Misrata and other places. So, I want to bring a legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jews of Libya to come back,” he said.
Since the start of the Libyan revolt he has been promoting the NTC’s cause in South Africa and working with war victims in Benghazi hospitals. “People call me the rebel Jew,” David Gerbi said smiling.