UAE reunites two more Jewish Yemeni families split for decades

"I'm living a dream, not quite sure if it's a dream or reality," said one family member.

A family have breakfast outside their home at a Jewish community in Sanaa, Yemen (photo credit: MOHAMED AL-SAYAGHI/REUTERS)
A family have breakfast outside their home at a Jewish community in Sanaa, Yemen
(photo credit: MOHAMED AL-SAYAGHI/REUTERS)
The United Arab Emirates helped reunited two Jewish Yemeni families with their relatives they had not seen for decades on Sunday, just a few months after it helped reunite another Jewish Yemeni family, according to the Emirati WAN news.
The first family of 15 members was reunited in Abu Dhabi after Emirati officials helped family members from Yemen and London travel to the city.
 
Yitzhak Fayez, 35, told WAM that he had not seen his grandparents and uncle since he was a child, when he moved to the UK from Yemen. He and 11 family members from London, including five great grandchildren, met with Fayez's grandparents and uncle from Yemen.
"They are today meeting their great grandchildren for the first time," said Fayez. "Today, the UAE made my family's dream come true after we had lost hope on getting reunited, after 21 years of separation."
"The saying goes: those that give water to the thirsty, will live in prosperity for the rest of their lives," added Fayez. "This is what the UAE has done for us. The people of peace, of bliss, of love."
Fayez's mother, Losa, said that the reunion had put an end to 21 years of suffering. "I'm living a dream, not quite sure if it's a dream or reality," said Losa.
"Only Almighty God is able to reward the UAE for this deed. What they have done for us is unparalleled by any means. Humans aren't capable to return this favor," said Yousif Habeeb, a family member.
The second family, the Salem family, was reunited after 15 years apart. Haron Salem, his wife and two children flew from Yemen to visit their relative who lives in Abu Dhabi.
"Words cannot express how grateful we are to the UAE. We are very happy being here reunited with our family member. The UAE is truly the homeland of love, tolerance and peace," said Salem.
Rabbi Elie Abadie, the senior rabbi of the Jewish community in the UAE, thanked the government for reuniting the Jewish families, in a video on Twitter, adding in a separate tweet that he was honored to have taken part in uniting the families.
 
In August, the UAE facilitated travel for a Yemani Jewish family with family members living in London and in Yemen to reunite in the UAE after being separated for 15 years.
While most of Yemen’s Jews were airlifted out of the country shortly after Israel’s establishment, a couple hundred stayed behind and have slowly trickled out of the country since.
About 50 Jews are estimated to be left in Yemen, but information about them is sparse. The Jews who have stayed in Yemen have resisted efforts to get them out, both from the Houthis and from Israel. A Houthi slogan is “Curse the Jews.”
According to The Media Line, the Houthis ordered at least some of the country's remaining Jews to leave the country in August. A report by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed in stated that the country's remaining Jews would be transferred to the UAE.
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.
“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].”
Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar al-Iryani said in 2017 that the state of the remaining Jews in the country was “unknown.”
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.