The according to the news that the Israeli foreign minister, Eli Cohen, recently met with his Libyan counterpart, Najla al-Mangoush, in Rome. During the meeting, they discussed the importance of preserving the heritage of Libyan Jews, which includes renovating synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in the country. Cohen also mentioned that Libya’s size and strategic location offer a huge opportunity for Israel. However, the Libyan foreign ministry has denied that any such meeting took place and claimed that it was an unofficial encounter during a meeting with his Italian counterpart .
The news of the meeting had sparked protests in some Libyan cities and a letter from the country’s presidential council requesting clarification . The council has stated that this development “does not reflect the foreign policy of the Libyan state, does not represent the Libyan national constants and is considered a violation of Libyan laws which criminalise normalisation with the ‘Zionist entity'” .
Following this, Libya’s foreign minister Najla al-Mangoush was suspended by her Tripoli-based prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah . She later claimed she would not have gone ahead with the meeting without the knowledge and consent of her prime minister . It is reported that she has fled to Turkey . The Israeli foreign ministry’s decision to brief unilaterally about the meeting has caused a political outcry in Tripoli and two nights of street protests across Libya . Pro-Palestinian protests are relatively rare in Libya, and this incident is likely to discourage other Arab leaders from seeking closer ties with Israel.