Yemeni Jews to immigrate Israel
By Nasser Arrabyee/16/05/2009
A group of Yemeni Jews will emigrate from Yemen to Israel this week in a secret trip organized by a Jewish agency, sources close to Jews said Saturday.
"About 30- 35 Jewish persons, from six families, from Raidah and Kharef, are scheduled to leave Yemen for ever on May 19th, 2009," said the sources who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
"A delegation from a Jewish agency has been convincing these families and arranging the trip in Sana'a since the beginning of this month," the sources told me.
The Jews will be transferred from Sana'a to Tel Aviv via Amman, the sources added.
The only remaining 332 Yemeni Jews have been living under growing threats and fear especially after a Muslim extremist killed one of them last December in Raidah town, about 50 km north of the capital Sana'a.
A total of 267 Jews are living in the two areas of Raidah and Kharef in Amran, one of the most conservative and tribal provinces in Yemen.
The government failed to implement an order by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to transfer them to the capital Sana'a after the increase of threats against them.
The security agencies have shown concerns over the suspended transfer to Sana'a where they are supposed to be put in one or two buildings together.
"They can be easy target for the extremists or Al Qaeda, and a massacre may happen," a security official said.
After the promise of the government to relocate them last December, the Jews offered their properties and houses for sale, but nothing was bought until now. An extremist local mosque speaker urged the Muslim neighbours not to buy anything from the Jews.
Despite the continuous efforts being exerted by Jewish agencies to Immigrate the Yemeni Jews to Israel US, or UK, the poorly educated and religious Jews keep saying they will not leave their homeland whatever difficulties they face.
"We'll live and die here in our homeland, we can not live with the Zionists in Israel, we disagree with them in a lot of things," The rabbi Yahya Yousef Mousa told me.
Mousa is the rabbi of a group of 65 Jews who have been living in a luxurious compound "tourist city" in the capital Sana'a at the expense of the government since March 2007 after receiving death threats from Al Houthi armed rebels in Al Salem in Sa'ada province. Each person receives 5,000 YR (25US$) monthly in addition to food stuff.
"By virtue of Allah and virtue of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, we are very fine here in Sana'a," the rabbi Yahya Yousef said.
However, those who are not transferred yet, are very disgruntled and their position, in terms of wanting or not to immigrate, is not as clear as their brothers who seem comfortable and relatively safe in Sana'a.
"If the government keeps procrastinating our transfer to Sana'a, we will not wait to see them (extremists) killing us one by one, we'll go to the hell not only to Israel," said Haeem Yaeish, head and rabbi of the Amran group, told me.
They face economic and social problems because discrimination. For instance, the Jewish women, who represent about 70 per cent of this small community, face difficulties getting married.
"We either send them abroad for marriage or keep them in 'stores' like the farmers of grapes who store their grapes to make raisins," mocked Mrs. Nemah, mother of the rabbi Yahya Yousef.
The human rights activist, Mahmoud Taha, who is interested in Yemeni Jewish affairs, warned against immigration of Jews, saying this will harm the values of Islam in Yemen.
"Immigration of the remaining Yemeni Jews will tell the world that Yemen has no room for tolerance and can not coexist with others," said Taha who lives in Amran.
"But if there is no solution for their problem by transferring them to Sana'a and giving them houses and money to live, no one of them will be here by the end of this year," he said.