Yemen's remaining Jews to be transferred to UAE - report
Yemeni Jews demonstrate outside the Cabinet office in Sanaa, March 2009
(photo credit: KHALED ABDULLAH/ REUTERS)
Reports in July claimed that the Houthi militant group in Yemen was rounding up Yemeni Jews and pressuring them to leave. These reports were denied by both Yemeni and international sources.
Yemen’s remaining Jews plan to immigrate to Abu Dhabi following the peace deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported over the weekend.The plan is to transfer 100 Jews to Abu Dhabi, a Yemeni rabbi told the pan-Arab media outlet headquartered in London, although past estimates placed the Jewish population in Yemen at about 50 people.
In 2017, Yemeni Information Minister Moammer al-Iryani said the state of the 50 or so remaining Jews in the country was unknown.The report was unconfirmed by any official source.In July, Iranian-backed Houthis were said to be rounding up Yemeni Jews and pressuring them to leave, according to Egyptian reports.The Foreign Ministry denied the reports, as did Yemeni and international sources.Some 40 Yemeni Jews have agreed to move to the UAE, and others are being persuaded to move by being told that they will not have any trouble integrating into Emirati society, Al-Araby reported, adding that the US government is said to have requested the move.The UAE has asked Iran to help facilitate the transfer of the Yemeni Jews to the UAE, the report said.Iran expressed opposition to the normalization deal reached between the UAE and Israel. Iranian hard-line daily Kayhan, whose editor in chief is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote: “The UAE’s great betrayal of the Palestinian people... will turn this small, rich country which is heavily dependent on security into a ‘legitimate and easy target’ for the resistance.”The transfer of the Yemeni Jews is being conducted under the supervision of the US, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and Emirati-Iranian coordination, Al-Araby reported.Griffiths visited Abu Dhabi over the weekend and may have worked to complete arrangements for the transfer of the Yemeni Jews, it said.While most of Yemen’s Jews were airlifted out of the country shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel, a few hundred Jews stayed behind and have trickled out of the country since then.The Jews who have stayed in Yemen have resisted efforts to get them out of the country, both from the Houthis and from Israel. According to Al-Araby, some of them fear they won’t be able to integrate into Israeli or US society.In July, Rabbi Faiz Gradi, a leader of the Yemeni Jewish community who emigrated to the US, told Yated Ne’eman the Jews who remained behind have refused to leave due to “their fear of educational and tznius [propriety] issues,” according to Yeshiva World News.“They heard from their brothers who made aliyah before them and understand that Israel is not for them,” he said.“The US is also not appropriate for their lifestyle. They searched for an Arab country that would agree to accept them, and there are a number of countries that may be willing to host them with assistance from the US. Perhaps we’ll merit to soon see a new Yemenite community in a country with a similar Arab nature but without threats to its security and yahadus [Judaism].”Houthi officials have forced Jews to sell their homes and land for low prices, a source from the Yemeni Jewish community told Al-Araby.Reuters contributed to this report.