Two Jewish Women to Be Allowed to Visit Old Homes in Libya

Since last year, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi has allowed some members of Italy's Libyan Jewish community to visit the places where they were born.

Two Jewish women currently living in Italy will be allowed to visit their families' old homes in Libya, the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported Thursday.

The news came on the same week of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi's visit to Rome to meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Muammar Gadhafi, AP, 2003

The two countries have seen warming ties in recent years after after Italy agreed to pay 5 billion dollars in reparations for its three decades of colonial rule in North Africa.

According to the report, the women have not be able to visit Libya, where they were born, since their families emigrated to Italy in 1967.

Jews lived in Libya for centuries, but faced harsh conditions during World War II when the country was ruled by fascist occupiers.

After the war, the situation become more complicated when Israel came into existence. After Gadhafi's revolution more Jews left the country, either for Italy or Israel.

The last Jew of Libya left the country in 2003, though starting last year, Gadhafi has allowed some members of the community in Italy to pay visits to the places where they were born, mostly in Tripoli or Benghazi.