GUY RAZ, Host:
Now back in his homeland, Gerbi is receiving death threats, as NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports.
LOURDES GARCIA: So I'm standing in front of the old synagogue in what was the old Jewish quarter of Tripoli. And right now, a crowd has gathered outside. There are armed men and they say that they are here for David's protection. But they are going to be asking him to leave.
HADI BELAZI: The building is not safe. The area is not safe. And there's a lot of people armed. And you don't know what happens. So, the best thing for him is to leave.
GARCIA: Hadi Belazi is among those outside the synagogue. It's tense. His son Haitham, who's there with him, agrees.
HAITHAM BELAZI: It's not the right time for this.
BELAZI: Because, you know, it's a very sensitive matter. We appreciate having different religions, Jews and everything, in our country. We want that. But not at this time.
GARCIA: He emerged from the synagogue today, his prayers interrupted.
DAVID GERBI: They told me that if I'm not leaving now, they will come and they are going to kill me, because they don't want the Jewish here.
GARCIA: As he's talking, his security guard hustles him away, afraid for his life.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, let's go right now.
GERBI: I'm scared only of God. If I have to die in this moment, I die.
GARCIA: But a spokesman for the National Transitional Council, Jalal el-Galal, says that contrary to what David Gerbi claims, he did not have the authorization of the NTC to restore the synagogue and he blames him for what happened.
JALAL EL: It is an illegal act because he has not taken any permission from anybody. I think it's a very sensitive issue at a very critical time. You are inciting something, going about it through improper channels. And it's obviously - you're going to incite a reaction.
GARCIA: Back on Tripoli's streets, David Gerbi says he won't leave.
GERBI: It's enough of this. This is old. This is the old persecution. This is thousands of years. They always - they need to kick out of the Jew. And now they throw me out again. I don't accept this anymore.
GARCIA: Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Tripoli.
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