This book investigates the transformative period in the history of the Jews of Libya (1938-52), a period crucial to understanding Libyan Jewry's evolution into a community playing significant roles in Israel, Italy and in relation with Qaddhafi's Libya. Against a background of a reform conscious Ottoman administration (1835-1911) and subsequent stirrings of modernisation under Italian colonial influence (1911-43), the Jews of Libya began to experience rapid change following the application of fascist racial laws of 1938, the onset of war-related calamities and violent expressions of Libyan pan-Arabism, culminating in mass migration to Israel in the period 1949-52. By focusing on key socio-economic and political dimensions of this process, the author reveals the capacity of Libyan Jewry to adapt to and integrate into new environments without losing its unique and historical traditions.
Maurice M Roumani, born in Benghazi, Libya, is a Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology and the Middle East at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel where he is also the founder and Director of the J.R. Elyachar Center for the Study of Sephardi Heritage. A graduate of Brandeis University, the University of Chicago and the University of London, he has held teaching and research positions at Harvard University.
Introduction; The Changing Fortunes of Libyan Jews Under Italian Colonialism; The British Military Administration: Hopes and Disillusion; The Role of International Jewish Organisations: Rehabilitation and Protection of Minority Rights; Exodus: The Choice of Israel; Settlement in Israel: The Pains of Displacement and the Difficulties of Absorption; Closing the Circle in 1967: The Final Exodus and its Challenges; Index.