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article imageLibyan protesters say 'no place for Jews in Libya'

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 11, 2011 in World
Tripoli - Exiled Libyan Jew David Gerbi has left Libya following angry demonstrations calling for his deportation. Not content with merely protesting, demonstrators tried to storm the hotel where Gerbi was staying, claiming there is no place for Jews in Libya.
Exiled Libyan Jew David Gerbi wants to be part of the new Libya. When the uprising against Gaddafi began he traveled to Libya from his home in Rome, in support of the newly formed rebel National Transitional Council. He worked as a volunteer at the Benghazi Psychiatric Hospital and has hopes of becoming a member of the NTC. A group of Libyans expressed their appreciation by demanding his deportation and [i]organizing a protest where placards read “There is no place for Jews in Libya.” Protesters also gathered to demonstrate against Gerbi in Benghazi.
Gerbi attracted the attention of anti-Semites due to his attempt to enter and restore the neglected Dar Bishi Synagogue in Tripoli last week. His efforts to clear up garbage in the synagogue resulted in a police summons for “breaking into an archaeological site without permission” according to the Jerusalem Post. A demonstration was organized and angry crowds gathered. The mob then attempted to storm Tripoli’s Corinithia Hotel where Gerbi was staying in order to remove him, but a security presence prevented their entrance.
Gerbi said NTC Justice Minister Muhammad Allaghi managed to dispel the crowd when he “warned that any use of force on the part of the protesters would immediately result in strong international condemnation.” Gerbi went on to say “This incident has served to expose the dangerous reality simmering beneath the surface. I want to contribute to, not obstruct, the building of a new democratic and pluralistic Libya. It is sad and absurd that my mere presence in Libya, should set off so much hostility and I regret this.”Gerbi left Libya on Tuesday by military plane, following discussions with the NTC and the Italian ambassador in Tripoli. The latter claimed that Gerbi was exacerbating extremism amongst Islamists. The incident does not bode well for Libyan Jews who want to return to their homeland. The hostility demonstrated led Front Page Mag to express the view that it is “highly doubtful that a new democratic and pluralistic Libya that would espouse religious tolerance can even be built.”
More about Libya, David Gerbi, tripoli synagogue, jews in Libya, Justice Minister Muhammad Allaghi
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