One interesting historical/cultural sidelight of the ongoing and unfinished transition in Libya has been at least a cautious, tentative outreach to the Libyan Jewish diaspora by the rebel forces. Although early in the fighting there were reports that Islamist elements in the rebel forces were using the rumor that Colonel Qadhafi was Jewish to rally support against him, (Some Libyan Jews in Israel have claimed one of his grandmothers was a Jewish convert to Islam.) Over the past few weeks there have been a number of news reports dealing with reported outreach to the Libyan Jewish diaspora, though Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi a few years ago himself made some gestures to Libyan Jews abroad. A leader of Libyan Jews in the UK has told the Jerusalem Post that he had been approached by members of the National Transitional Council, suggesting he return to Libya and run for political office. An AFP report noted the longtime relationships between Jewish and Amazigh ("Berber") communities in Yafran (Ifren, Ifrane), in the Jebel Nefusa, while The Jerusalem Post, again, has emphasized how David Gerbi, representative of the World Organization of Libyan Jews, based in Italy, has cultivated good relations with the Amazigh rebels.
Although as I noted, in the years since his rapprochement with the West Qadhafi himself had opened links with Jewish Libyans in the diaspora, and Saif al-Islam had been more open in urging Libyan Jews to return, possibly due to the overinflated view many Arab leaders have of Jewish influence, combined with a recongition that both Morocco and Tunisia (especially Djerba) have benefited from significant Jewish tourism (even from Israel), Libya itself has no indigenous Jewish population. The last Libyan Jew, an elderly woman in a rest home in Tripoli, emigrated to Italy in 2003.
Her departure marked the end of a long history of Jewish presence in what is now Libya. The Hellenistic city of Cyrene in eastern Libya was a major Jewish center in the last years BC and the first years AD; in the gospels Simon of Cyrene is compelled to carry Jesus' cross, and the Acts of the Apostles mentions Cyrene frequently. Jewish communities spread to Tripoli and the Jebel Nefusa (hence the Amazigh links).
But the 20th century was not kind to Libya's Jews. Though Benito Mussolini came to Anti-Semitism late, mostly due to his Axis with the Nazis, Italy's Anti-Semitic laws also applied in Libya. Aftar there were two pogroms in Tripoli, and many Libyan Jews fled to Italy or, after the establishment of Israel, to the new Jewish state. Emigration continued throughout the monarchy period and became more extensive once Qadhafi came to power. As noted, the last Jewish Libyan is believed to have left in 2003.
Most of the Libyan Jewish diaspora are in Israel and Italy, though there are also significant numbers in the UK and the US. Whether the flirtations of the new rebel leadership will lead anywhere will doubtless depend on the makeup of the new government, whose formation has been delayed yet again. But it's an interesting sidelight of the Libyan revolution.