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Libyan exile launches effort to restore Tripoli synagogue

JTA

October 2, 2011 | 1:23 pm

Libyan Jewish exile David Gerbi breaks the wall at the sealed entrance to Dar Bishi synagogue in Tripoli on Oct. 2. Photo by REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Libyan Jewish exile David Gerbi breaks the wall at the sealed entrance to Dar Bishi synagogue in Tripoli on Oct. 2. Photo by REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Libyan Jewish exile David Gerbi began digging out Tripoli’s main synagogue in an attempt to restore the building.

Gerbi, who arrived in Libya from Italy this summer when Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was ousted in a rebellion, on Sunday began the work of surveying the damage to the Dar al-Bishi synagogue, The Associated Press reported. He had spent weeks getting permission from the country’s new leaders.

Gerbi, a representative of the World Organization of Libyan Jews, told Reuters that he is applying to become a member of Libya’s National Transitional Council as a full member to represent the Jewish community. He also plans to reclaim Jewish properties confiscated by the state.

Most Tripoli synagogues have been destroyed or converted to mosques. Jewish cemeteries also have been torn down to make room for office buildings.

Gerbi fled Libya with his family in 1967 when he was 12 years old.

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