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Netanya woman claims he is her relative

by Rhonda Spivak, September 1, 2011

Netanya ,September 1,-A seventy five year old Jewish women , Guita Brown  and her daughter Sarah Brown of Libyan origin who live in Netanya have claim to be relatives of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. They say that  Gaddaf’s mother and grandmother were both Jewish but married Moslem men.


 Guita Brown,  who has been extensively interviewed by Israeli media recently, told the  Winnipeg Jewish Review that she is Gaddafi’s second cousin (Brown’s grandmother was the sister of Gaddafi’s grandmother).


Sara Brown explained in detail: “Gaddafi’s grandmother was a  Jew who was  married to a Jewish man at first, and they had a child, but her huisband beat her and they got divorced and she was sort of shunned by the small Libyan Jewish community, and married a Muslim man. They had two children and one of them was the mother of Gaddafi.”


While Gaddafi’s grandmother converted to Islam when she married her Moslem husband, according to Jewish halacha  (religious law) she remains Jewish. Therefore, her child, Gaddafi’s mother was also Jewish.


“Gaddafi’s mother married Gaddafi’s father, who was also a Moslem man. The Moslems consider Gaddafi to be Moslem because his father was a Moslem. But  Jews consider him to be Jewish because his mother and grandmother were Jewish, Sara Brown told the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

Sara added, “My mother’s grandmother lived in the same neighborhood as Gaddafi’s grandmother, right near each other,  and the story of her second marriage to the Muslim man was known in the community.”


Gita Brown told the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom the last week  in August that  “I saw Gaddafi when we were children. We would play together when my Aunt Didi (Gaddafi’s mother) would come to my mother’s house. The last time I saw him was before I made aliya to Israel. He was 7 years old and I was 13.”


According to Sara Brown, Gaddafi’s Jewish mother (Aunt Didi) and his Moslem father also had other children, including a sister.


When asked why her mother first came forward about this family connection to Gaddafi recently, Sara Brown answered, “My mother came to Israel to rebuild our lives and didn’t talk about it.It wasn’t something she talked about. It was a taboo subject.”


Sara Brown also told the  Winnipeg Jewish Review that she “has heard” that there is  a “very close relative” of Gaddafi’s who immigrated to Israel  --his sister. “But she wouldn’t want to be known. It would be an embarrassment, so it is not surprising that she hasn’t come forward,” Sara said.


Sara added that her mother  Gita is not in good health but “we have had all sorts of Israeli media come to our home and interview my mother. She has been on Israeli television a number of times about this.”


Dr Itzhak Ben Gad, also a resident of Netanya and an expert in Middle East  Studies, whose father was the former chief Rabbi of Libya told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that in 1948 over 90% of the 38, 000  Libyan Jews, virtually all of whom were orthodox, immigrated to Israel. “By 1953 all of them had immigrated,” he said.


Ben-Gad, who is 69, said that his father, who was the Chief Rabbi form 1950-1953 never spoke about Gaddafi being Jewish. “Everything I know about Gaddafi being Jewish is from reading about  it in the Israeli media.”


If the story told by Brown  is true [and it's hard to see why someone would make it up-especially since Gaddafi isn't the most popular guy],  could Gaddafi be entitled to immigrate to Israel as a Jew under Israel’s Law of Return ?


P.S. As for the fate of Libya, Ben-Gad, who has never been back to Tripoli where he grew up,  says that it is diffucult to see how Libya will stay unified. "It is made  up of a group of tribes and it's hard to see how they will all be held together."



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.