Earlier in the week, Israel TV news proudly showed David Gerbi, an exiled Libyan Jew who traveled back to Libya armed with a sledge hammer breaking the cinderblock wall that sealed his former shul. Gerbi explained that he and his family were ousted after the 1967 Six Day War in Israel, and he has always dreamt of returning. After the ousting of Muammar Kaddafi, he realized the time is now.
He told Israel news that he plans to begin restoring the once-glorious shul in Tripoli, committed to his cause, a dream which he has been carrying for decades. Unfortunately, his euphoria was short-lived. He was told to stop his work, warned by a man who told Gerbi “men with guns are on their way”.
It remains to be seen just how free a new Libya will be and if religious freedom for Jews will become reality. For now, Gerbi, in his 50s, may have to come to the realization that his project may revert back to a dream.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)