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Monday, January 22, 2007

Is a new 'magic carpet' about to fly?

In May 1949, when the Imam of Yemen agreed to let 45,000 of the 46,000 Jews in his country leave, Israeli transport planes flew them "home" in Operation Magic Carpet. The Yemenite Jews, mostly children, were brought to Israel on some 380 flights. British and American planes airlifted the Jews from Aden, the capital of Yemen, when they reached the city from all over Yemen after extremely dangerous and risky journeys. The operation was secret and was released to the media only several months after its completion.

Today, the Saudi daily al-Wattan is reporting that forty-five Jews of Sa'ada county in Yemen left their homes after being threatened by Muslims who are apparently affiliated with al-Qaida.

According to the report, the Jews were told to leave their homes within ten days, after which time they will be exposed to abductions and looting.

The Jews moved into a hotel in the town of Sa'ada, north of the Yemenite capital Sana. According to the report, a formal complaint was submitted to the Yemenite President Abdullah Salah.
The threat message - attributed to disciples of Shiite-inclined religious leader Hossein Bader a-Din al-Khouty - said that the Jews are acting in a manner that "primarily serves global Zionism, which is acting persistently to disseminate decay amongst the people and to cut them off from their principles, values, their morals and religion."

The message also said that the threats are based on surveillance conducted on the Jews, and that "Islam calls upon us to fight against the disseminators of decay."
YNet quotes one of the threatening letters as saying:
They (the Jews) have taken part in actions and movements that serve global Zionism first and foremost, and are working diligently at corrupting people and making them abandon their values, their moral and religious values, and spread all kinds of abominations throughout society.

[This conclusion was reached] following meticulous surveillance of the Jews living in the El-Hid region in Saada…Our Islam religion compels us to fight the corrupt and denounce them.
According to all accounts, these Jews wish to remain in Yemen, although there is obviously no way to assess from afar whether that desire is real or is professed out of fear of the consequences of admitting to a desire to emigrate - presumably to Israel.

Both YNet and the Jerusalem Post report on an interview conducted with one of the Yemenite Jews who has fled, Yihya Yousef Mousa. Mousa said that the believers' youth organization's chief Yihya el Hadir told him that he and his friends did not want to see even one Jew in Saada.

According to Mousa, although they returned to their homes last Wednesday, the youth organization's members continued to harass them, threaten them with kidnappings and steal their money and cars. "Where do they want us to go?" asked Mousa.

"The second threat was received after we returned home following official instructions. Four masked people approached us and told us that if we are still here by Friday, harm will come to us. The sheikhs of the area are the last ones who can do anything for us."
The Jerusalem Post quotes Bar Ilan University Professor Aharon Giamani, a former radio broadcaster from Kol Yisrael to Yemen and an expert in Yemenite Jewry, who called the incident "fleeting."
These are extremist threats, not threats from the government. The issue will pass, and these Jews will return to their homes.
There are several hundred Jews left in Yemen, who are a small minority in the mostly Muslim country. Most of Yemen's Jews were brought over to Israel during Operation Magic Carpet in 1949-50, following the 1948 Muslim riots that ruined the Jewish community in Aden and killed 82 people. According to Professor Giamani,
This is the last generation of Jews in Yemen, and they appear to be happy there for the most part. There isn't much of a community, there isn't a leadership, and they consult with Rabbis abroad. The government does not object to them leaving, but on the whole, they do not want to come to Israel, New York or London for that matter.
But give the 'Palestinians' a state reichlet, and Muslims won't hate Jews anymore....


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