Yemeni Jews evacuated to Israel following pogroms

Ten new immigrants from Yemen arrived in Israel Feb. 19 in a special operation of the Jewish Agency, including Said Ben Yisrael—a leader of the Jewish community in the city of Raida, where local Jews are facing a wave of harassment. Ben Yisrael, who came with his wife and seven children, has suffered death threats, and a grenade was thrown into his courtyard several weeks ago. Approximately 280 Jews are now living in Yemen—230 in Raida and about 50 in the capital of Sana’a. Many Jews fled Sana’a about a year ago due to harassment by a group supposedly connected to al-Qaeda.

Tensions between Muslims and the Jewish minority were heightened December when Moshe Yaish Nahari, the brother of a local rabbi and a father of nine, was murdered by an Islamic extremist. A verdict in the case is scheduled to be handed down March 2. Eli Cohen, director-general of the Jewish Agency’s Aliyah and Absorption Department, said the Jewish Agency is working to bring to Israel quickly most of the Jews in Yemen who wish to emigrate. The new immigrants will receive special assistance from the Jewish Agency, including a grant of nearly $10,000 per family. (JTA, Feb. 19; YNet, Dec. 12)

There have been several instances of anti-Jewish persecution in the Arab world in the wake of Israel’s Gaza offensive.

See our last posts on Israel, Yemen and the politics of anti-Semitism.

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