Israel rescues last Jews from war-torn Yemen, in covert operation

By March 24 2016, 11:47 Latest News No Comments

Yemen rescueIsrael has rescued 19 Jews from Yemen, some of the last remaining in the country in a “complex covert operation”, the body responsible for Jewish immigration to Israel said this week.

The agency said: “Nineteen individuals arrived in Israel in recent days, including 14 from the town of Raydah and a family of five from Sanaa”.

Yemen and Israel do not have any existing diplomatic ties. The country has descended into a civil war with Shiite Houthi rebels battling Sunni Arab forces of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur, backed by the air power of a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states.

After arriving at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, the rescued Yemenite Jews boarded buses to the immigration centre in Be’er Sheva in southern Israel, where family members who had already moved to Israel greeted them.

Of the group that emigrated to Israel, one Yemeni Jew was the rabbi of the Jewish community in the city of Raydah, also serving as its kosher slaughterer, who brought a 600-year-old Torah with him to Israel. Israel’s Channel Two news station reported that the U.S. helped to coordinate the handover of the group from Yemen to Israel.

CNN has reported that one of the group, Sulaiman al-Dahari came with his family, who had lived far away from the civil war, but escaped Yemen’s crumbling economy: “The situation there is mixed between fear and poverty. The economic situation is bad. I feel comfortable here in Israel”.

The agency said that the conflict, coupled with anti-Semitism, left the country’s remaining Jews in danger, however the final 50 Jews in the country decided that they wish to stay.

Approximately 40 of those live in the capital, Sana’a, near the U.S. embassy compound under the protection of Yemeni forces.

Yemen’s Jewish population dates back 2,300 years, according to some estimates, with most Yemenite Jews living in Sana’a, the ancient capital of Yemen. For centuries, Jews in Yemen lived amongst a Muslim population, maintaining a devout lifestyle.
Most of Yemen’s Jewish population fled after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. In Operation Magic Carpet, Israel airlifted about 50,000 Yemenite Jews from Aden to Israel once the Imam of Yemen allowed Jews to leave.
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