There are a lot of stupid liberal Jews in the world. This is another one. Libyan Jewish man who returned from exile to try to restore Tripoli’s main synagogue says he has been blocked from the building by gunmen.
CNS NEWS Breaking down in tears, Gerbi says Libya needs to decide if it’s going to be a racist country or a democratic one. (We already know the answer to that one, why don’t you?) He called it a test of tolerance for Libya’s new rulers.
A visibly angry David Gerbi says he went to clean garbage from the synagogue on Monday only to be told by men at the scene that they had warnings he would be targeted by violence. He says they told him to stop his efforts.
Gerbi, who fled with his family to Italy in 1967, says he was surprised because he had permission from the local sheik. Gerbi’s colleague Richard Peters says several men armed with assault rifles later appeared to guard the building.
David Gerbi is a 56-year-old psychoanalyst, but to Libyan rebels he was the “revolutionary Jew.” He returned to his homeland after 44 years in exile to help oust Moammar Gadhafi, and to take on what may be an even more challenging mission.
That job began Sunday, when he took a sledgehammer to a concrete wall. Behind it: the door to Tripoli’s crumbling main synagogue, unused since Gadhafi expelled Libya’s small Jewish community early in his decades-long rule. Gerbi knocked down the wall, said a prayer and cried.
“What Gadhafi tried to do is to eliminate the memory of us. He tried to eliminate the amazing language. He tried to eliminate the religion of the Jewish people,” said Gerbi, whose family fled to Italy when he was 12. “I want to bring our legacy back, I want to give a chance to the Jewish of Libya to come back.” (This guy must be on drugs)
The Star of David is still visible inside and outside the peach-colored Dar al-Bishi synagogue in Tripoli’s walled Old City. An empty ark where Torah scrolls were once kept still reads “Shema Israel” — “Hear, O Israel” — in faded Hebrew. But graffiti is painted on the walls, and the floor and upper chambers are covered in garbage — plastic water bottles, clothes, mattresses, drug paraphernalia and dead pigeon carcasses. He and a team of helpers carted in brooms, rakes and buckets to prepare to clean it out.
It took Gerbi weeks to get permission from Libya’s new rulers to begin restoring the synagogue, which is part of his broader goal of promoting tolerance for Jews and other religions in a new Libya. (The ‘new’ Libya will be run by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda rebels, famous for their ‘tolerance’ of Jews) “My hope and wish is to have an inclusive country,” he said. “I want to make justice, not only for me, but for all the people of Libya for the damage that Gadhafi did.”
Gerbi’s family fled to Rome in 1967, when Arab anger was rising over the war in which Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Two years later, Gadhafi expelled the rest of Libya’s Jewish community, which at its peak numbered about 37,000. READ MORE