Some of the Libyan rebels opposed to Muammar Gaddafi have accused the colonel of being a Jew, which is considered a heinous epithet in the rabidly anti-Semitic Arab world. But could Muammar Gaddafi actually be Jewish?
According to a new report in the Economist magazine, perhaps.
The well-respected British magazine reports that Gita Boaron, an Israeli of Libyan decent, claimed on Israeli television that she is related to the just-about-deposed Libyan strongman.
“Gaddafi’s grandmother is my grandmother’s sister,” Boaron told Israeli television. “His grandmother is my father’s grandmother. She was Jewish, became Muslim and married the town sheik. She had children and he’s her grandson, so he’s considered Jewish because his mother was born to a Jewish mother. So it means he’s Jewish.”
Evidently, Boaron thinks Gaddafi should seek refuge in Israel and make aliyah. But Boaron isn’t the only Israeli that believes Gaddafi is part of the Tribe. As the Economist reports:
“In Netanya, a resort north of Tel Aviv, where many of the 100,000-odd Israeli Jews of Libyan origin have settled, a square has been called Qaddafi Plaza in anticipation of his arrival. ‘Whatever he’s done, Israel’s his home,’ says Rachel, a widow sipping her macchiato, Libya’s beverage of choice, and nibbling abambara, a Libyan-Jewish pastry in one of the square’s Libyan-owned cafés. ‘After all, he’s a Jew.’ With his curls, she says, he would fit into many a Libyan synagogue.”
The head of a Libyan Jewish cultural organization in Israel further buttressed the rumor to the magazine.
“Jews from Tripoli remember he [Gaddafi] attended a Jewish wedding in the 1960s, long before he became leader,” Pedazur Benattia said.
Whether the rumor is true or not, Gaddafi is hardly known for being a friend to the Jewish people. When he came to power in 1969, very few Jews remained in Libya, but Gaddafi was able to make the miniscule number shrink even further. Among other things, he confiscated all Jewish property. Today, there is believed to be no Jews left in Libya.