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Sunday, November 01, 2009

60 Jews escape Yemen to the US

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported on a secret mission to resettle Yemen's Jewish community in the United States and Israel.
From the safety of his new home in suburban New York, Mr. Yakub recounted his last months in Yemen. Rocks shattered the windows of his house and car. Except for emergencies and provisions, Jews began to avoid leaving home. When they did, Mr. Yakub and other Jews took to disguising themselves as Muslims.

"This was no way to live," he said, seated at the head of a long table surrounded by his wife and children.

Salem Suleiman, who also arrived recently in New York, bears scars from rocks that hit his head. "They throw stones at us. They curse us. They want to kill us," he said. "I didn't leave my house for two months."

New York had a community of about 2,000 Yemeni Jews. Yair Yaish, who heads the Yemenite Jewish Federation of America, says he was barraged with "desperate calls from the community here saying we have to do something to get our families out."

The U.S. Ambassador to Yemen urged Yemeni ministers to facilitate the departure. After initial reluctance -- the government preferred to give the Jews safe haven in the capital city -- Yemen agreed to issue exit permits and passports.

"It was the embassy's view, and the Department concurred, that because of their vulnerability, we should consider them for resettlement," says a spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Jewish Federations of North America raised $750,000 to help the effort. Orthodox groups also pledged to pitch in. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society was tasked with their resettlement.

Word reached Jews in Raida that there was an American plan afoot to rescue them.
Read the whole thing. Somewhere toward the end, they mention that a few people lost their opportunity to immigrate to the US because they could not sell their property and missed their flights.

The picture at the top is the father and sisters of Moshe Nahari HY"D, a Yemeni Jew who was murdered last December for refusing to convert to Islam. They are standing outside the court waiting for his murder trial. Note that the women are dressed in Muslim-style burkhas.

If you know any Jews in Yemen, please urge them to leave while they can.


At 12:51 PM, Blogger Alpha3958 said...

I remember just a few days ago the Jewish lady on The Daily Show with John (Leibovitch) Stewart, was talking about how well Jews were treated in Muslim countries. She should talk to these Jews who escaped from Yemen.


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