Monday, 19 April 2010

Rabbi criticizes allegedly imminent transfer of Yemen's Jews to Britain

By NasserArrabyee/19/04/2010

A Yemeni Jewish rabbi demanded the British government not to give asylum to Yemeni Jews who want to leave their country because of alleged persecution.

"The attempts to take the Jews from Yemeni are attempts to damage the reputation of Yemen as a country without tolerance," Rabbi, Yahya Yousif, told Gulf News Monday.

I do not agree with my brothers the Jews, who allow others to distort Yemen, our homeland, he added.

This comes after press reports that Britain is about to give asylums to a group of Yemeni Jews who applied for that because of alleged persecution in their country, Yemen.

"I have information that a group of Jews in Raidah have the desire to leave Yemen for Britain, but I think this is not justifiable," the rabbi said " This is our homeland, homeland of our grand, grand parents we are fine here, secured, and our rights are given."

The rabbi , Yahya Yousif, along with a gourp of about 70 Jews, have been living in a relatively luxurious government-run residential compound in the Yemeni capital Sana'a since 2006 when Al Houthi rebels forced them to leave their houses in Al Salem in Sa'ada, north of the country.

There are about 260 Jews still living in the most tribal and conservative province of Amran, town of Raidah, about 50 km north of the capital Sana'a.

The Yemeni government has been promising to transfer them to the capital Sanaá like the group from Al Salem, especially after one of them was killed by a religious extremist who asked them to convert to Islam or leave Yemen. Later the killer wassentenced to death.

It seems the government does not want to put them in one place in Sanaá in fear of becoming an easy target for religious extremists.

The Jews in Raida complain to journalists and human rights groups from individual harassments and persecution, but they can not leave their houses and lands and go to Sanaá. They even face difficulties in selling their houses and lands.

“ We want to move to Sanaá like our brothers from Al Salem, but we want compensation for our houses and lands first, the government kept promising us, but nothing happened,” one of the Jews in Raida told Gulf News.

“If our problem is not solved, we’ll go to the hell not only to Israel or Britain,” said the Jew who asked not to be named.

A source close to the Jews in Raida said, all the 260 Jews are only waiting the appropriate time for leaving Yemen to Britain.

A diplomat from the UK embassy in Sana'a declined to deny or confirm that the right of asylum was given to them.

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