Approximate location of the Italian school in Khoms (כומס, الخمس), Libya (לוב, ليبيا).
Al Khums, or better known as Khoms, is a city in the Murqub District on the coast of Libya. The population of this city is approximately 200,00. In the year 1911 Italy colonized Libya which sparked tensions that ultimately spawned a series of battles between the Syrian natives and Italy. This later became known as the Battle of Marqub. However, during World War II, the Allied forces took control of Khums thus forcing Italy to rescind its claim of Libya in 1947. It is for this reason that a strong Italian presence still remains in Khoms, Libya today.
Khoms is located on top of an old Roman town named Lebda. In this town was a Jewish settlement that was thought to be there in the 2nd century. Furthermore, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, he helped Jews live in Khoms and allowed them to be in positions of importance in the city.
After the city of Lebda disappeared in the 12th century, the city of Khoms took its place. Because of the Jewish population that had been in Lebda, Jews continued to travel to the new town of Khoms because they felt safe knowing that their ancestors had been there before. Jews traveled from places such as Tripoli and settled at Khoms and flourished by selling the Halfa plant. After Italy took control of Libya in 1911, the Jewish population continued to thrive because of the launch of two family businesses that specialized in processing the Halfa plant.
In 1945, anti-Semitic riots broke out throughout Tripoli and many Jews were fearful of the idea of these riots spreading to Khoms. Because of this a majority of Jews migrated to Israel and currently there are a few small communities that remain in Khoms.
After attending classes here, Jewish students would go to the Ben Yehudah school to learn Hebrew.