Controversy erupted as an Egyptian report circulated on social media on Tuesday, claiming that Yemen’s Houthis arrested Jews in the Kharif District of the 'Amran Governorate northwest of Sana'a as part of "ethnic cleansing" efforts.
The report, published in a number of Yemeni media outlets and then the Egyptian newspaper Al-Mesryoon, stated that local sources from Kharif had reported that the Houthis had rounded up the Jews and imprisoned them due to their religion and were pressuring them to leave Yemen.
The Houthis additionally forced the Jews to sign pledges to sell their homes, land and property to Houthi leaders at nominal prices and then leave the country, according to the report.
The report added that the Houthis have persecuted the few Jews left in Yemen by cutting off their water and electricity and preventing them from purchasing food. The rebel group uses similar practices against non-Shi'ite Yemenis and Yemenis from other religions, according to the report.
The report has yet to be confirmed by any official source, leaving questions about the report’s validity. The fate of the Jews in Yemen if the report is true is uncertain.When asked by The Jerusalem Post about the matter, Israel's Foreign Ministry said it had been queried about the report many times and it appears to be false.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder responded to the reports, saying, “Though the horrific reports we are reading about the persecution of Yemeni Jews are unconfirmed, the international community has a responsibility to investigate the situation and to protect this vulnerable population.”
“We have seen a frightening rise in antisemitism across the globe in recent years, and this evil threatens the safety of Jews in communities large and small. Governments must prosecute instances of hatred against Jews and other minorities, and must prioritize religious equality,” added Lauder.
While most of Yemen’s Jews were airlifted out of the country shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel, a couple of hundred Jews stayed behind and have trickled out of the country since then. 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 of the country, both from the Houthis and from Israel.
Part of the Houthis slogan is “Curse the Jews.”
Yemen’s Information Minister Moammer al-Iryani stated in 2017 that the state of the 50 or so remaining Jews in the country was "unknown."