31 July 2010

Libya Jewish leader goes home

I have a secret friend. He is Libyan. We communicate through Twitter DM  (Direct Message). I was suspicious of his motivations in the beginning and feared him. Over time, I have learned that he is a caring family man with a soft spot for the Jewish people. I won't mention his name here, so that he doesn't suffer any backlash from enemies of Israel. Today he sent me some hopeful news that Libya may be softening on their stand toward Jewish people, at least as far as visiting the country. Here is what was published today on Middle East Online, among other anti-Israel news. This is likely a puff piece and propaganda, but what is important here, and poignant, is what one Libyan man, who dares to be different, said after I asked him if it was a recent story:
"Yes, this was only last week. Just wait and you will see dramatic changes, well as we say " blood never turn to water,"  our beloved Libyan Jews will get back and  be compensated for every thing.  I'm happy for this. P.S. The departure was on 1967 before Gad'dafi came 2 power 1969."
Libya: Jewish leader goes home Raphael Luzon takes mother, sister to visit birthplace in Benghazi after decades of exile.
TRIPOLI - A Libyan Jewish community leader who visited his birthplace for the first time since being forced to flee in 1967 said on Friday it felt like he was living a dream. 
Raphael Luzon, who was driven out after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and now lives in London, visited his birthplace of Benghazi, 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) east of Tripoli, with his sister and 83-year-old mother. "We visited Benghazi and met our loved ones amid tears and great longing for friends we have never forgotten," said Luzon. It felt like he was "in a dream." Luzon, who also met several Libyan officials during the visit, said he regretted not having had the chance to hold talks with the country's leader Moamer Gaddafi. Libya's Jewish population, numbering tens of thousands, shrunk after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. Most of the estimated 7,000 remaining Jews were evacuated after the 1967 war following anti-Jewish riots. Gaddafi has said he would be willing to compensate Jews who left behind their properties in Libya. "All the Jewish community (living abroad) is waiting for my return so I can tell them about the results of this visit," Luzon said, adding that he plans to make another return to Libya. "All the Libyan Jews living in Palestine and Europe and America, and there are 110,000 Jews of them, yearn for Libya and wish to return, or just to visit," he said.