Doris Nachum was born Libya. Her family’s native language was Arabic although they also spoke Italian. In the 1940s Doris and her family were among the 38,000 Jews residing in Libya. Though the Jews were restricted in many areas of life because of tradition and Muslim law, they still had a vibrant and thriving community in Libya during this time.
In the 1960s life became a lot more challenging for the Jews of Libya. On May 24th, 1961, a law was announced which provided that only Libyan citizens could own and transfer real property. Since only six Jews were purported to have received Libyan citizenship in the community this law was the beginning of a series of anti-Semitic decrees that made life increasingly difficult for Doris and her family. After this law passed the Libyan Jews were also increasingly restricted in employment opportunities. They were prohibited from working for the government, owning their own businesses and attending university.
In 1967, Doris and her family witnessed the riot that had broken out in Tripoli after Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. Because the Arab armies had lost the war, in many Arab countries angry mobs took much of their anger out on their local indigenous Jewish communities. Doris and her family hid as they heard and saw an a mob approaching their home and the homes of their Jewish neighbors. They were able to hide in their neighbors’ attic. They begged the downstairs neighbor who was Muslim to protect them when the mob came through and thankfully he did. However, Doris’ home as well as the homes of many other Jews and her community’s synagogue were destroyed and burnt down.
King Idriss wanted to protect the Jews in 1967 and he was able to send out secret police to gather all the Jews and hide them in an old British military base in the desert eventually giving them safe passage to Italy. Doris and her family were flown toRome. From Rome, Doris and her family moved to Israel. Doris moved to the U.S. in 1989 and is currently a real estate agent working all over Silicon Valley. She is married and has two daughters.