Jews from Yemen to Israel 370.
(photo credit: Moshe Brin /The Jewish Agency for Israel)
The Jewish Agency on Wednesday night helped a group of 17 Jews to move to Israel
from Yemen, in a covert maneuver reminiscent of 1949-50’s Operation Magic
Carpet, the first mass aliya after the foundation of the state.
heightened security concerns and increasing tensions in Yemen, two sets of
parents were brought directly to Israel, along with 10 of their children who had
been living in Argentina.
The immigrants landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and
were taken to an absorption center in the South.
Jewish Agency chairman
Natan Sharansky said: “Tonight we are privileged to engage in a mission that
combined the saving of lives, the reunification of a family and immigration to
Behind the scenes of this operation lies the dedication and
expertise of the Jewish Agency and our partner organizations who all contributed
to the mission’s success.
“The Jewish Agency stands at the ready to bring
any Yemeni Jew who expresses interest in making aliya to Israel, and to help the
local community in any way possible,” Sharansky said.
The members of the
group had attempted to enter the United Kingdom with the hope of obtaining
refugee status. However, after leaving Yemen, they learned that they were denied
entry to the UK and would be brought to Argentina instead.
Ten of these
children (with Yahia Karni the father of six and and Haim Karni the father of
four) were on Wednesday’s flight to Israel.
Recently, Yemenite Jews have
been targets of threats by Islamists, including those who identify with
Anti-Semitic threats and attacks in Yemen have been on the rise
since 2008, when schoolteacher Moshe Nahari was killed. His wife and nine
children immigrated to Israel.
Anti-Semitic incidents spiked in 2010 when
community leader Aaron Zindani was stabbed to death in a market. Subsequently,
his wife and five children immigrated to Israel, and took his body with them for
burial in the Jewish state, with assistance from the Jewish Agency and the
Things worsened again in 2012 after the ouster of
Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
As a consequence, the number of
Yemenite Jews immigrating to Israel in the past few years has reached recent
An estimated 100 Jews live in Yemen. Half reside in the capital
Sanaa in a protected area, while the rest are in Omran province’s city of
Amnesty International has previously written to the Yemeni
government, urging the country to protect its Jewish citizens.
organization stated that it is “deeply concerned for the safety of members of
the Jewish community in northwestern Yemen following the killing of one member
of the community and anonymous serious threats to others to leave Yemen or face
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