Survey Finds Libyan Jews Are Unmolested Although Activities Restricted

The 4, 000 Jews remaining in Libya out of a total of 29, 000 in 1937 are “generally unmolested” today although subject to restriction on travel abroad and communication with foreign countries, notably Israel, the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the World Jewish Congress reported today.

A survey prepared by Dr. Nehemiah Robinson, director of the Institute, noted that the Jews in Libya compose less than one percent of the country’s total population of 1, 200, 000. They live mainly in two cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. Until 1959, the Jewish communities in the two cities functioned as Jewish entities. But early in 1959, the Libyan Government of the Province of Tripolitania dissolved the central Jewish administration there, appointing a commissioner to administer the Jewish community and its assets. The authorities justified the measure by alleging that community funds had been mishandled. A new law governing the Jewish community was promised, but so far nothing has been learned about the promulgation of such a law.

The survey reported that Egyptian propaganda is disseminated in Libya through the press and radio, and Egyptian teachers “are dominant in the schools. ” Early this year, Dr. Robinson said, “there were strong demands for the confiscation of the property of the Jews as “Zionist agents.”

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