Moshe Labi


Descended from 15th century Cabalist ancestors, Moshe Labi and his family fled Libya in the midst of the Nazi invasion of North Africa. After travelling through Egypt and the Sudan, the family settled in Tel Aviv in 1943. Today, he is a retired physician living in New York.

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Timeline of the Jews in Libya

323 BCE
The first Jews in Libya under Hellenistic rule.
73 CE
The Romans suppress a Jewish rebellion killing most of the community.
Another revolt is swiftly crushed. The Jewish community disappears from the historical record.
Libya is colonized by Italy.
21,000 Jews live in Libya, roughly 4% of the population. They live a generally good life.
Italian Fascists pass anti-Semitic laws. Jews removed from government jobs, and citizenship papers labeled “Jewish race”.
German forces occupy Benghazi battling the Allies in North Africa. Jewish quarter looted and thousands of Jews deported to labor camps.
A pogrom in Tripolitania kills 140 Jews. Synagogues are looted, homes and businesses destroyed.
Anti-Jewish rioters attack Jewish communities killing 12 and burning hundreds of homes. Jewish self-defense units stop. Jewish mass emigration begins.
30,972 Jews have for Israel, most of the Jewish population.
The Jewish Community Council is abolished by law.
A special permit is required to prove Libyan citizenship. All Jews are denied this permit. Seizure of property and assets of Jews who have emigrated to Israel.
After the Six Day War, anti-Jewish pogroms kill 18 people and injure many more. King Idris I, allows all remaining Jews to “temporarily” emigrate.
The last known Jew in Libya leaves for Rome, marking the official end of the Jews in Libya.