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Yemeni Jews forced to leave their villages

Yemeni Jews forced to leave their villages

Author: Nasser Arrabyee
Publication: Gulf News
Date: January 3, 2009
URL: http://archive.gulfnews.com/news/gulf/yemen/10272093.html

The Yemeni Jewish community in Raida, north of the country, will move to the capital Sana'a after receiving death threats from tribal and religious extremists, Jews and local official sources said on Friday.

The whole Jewish community, which has 266 people, will move tomorrow from the town of Raida in Amran province, to a governmental residential complex in the city of Sana'a, the sources said.

"The Jews were given an ultimatum till tomorrow to leave or convert to Islam from the relatives of Abdul Aziz Al Abdi, who is being tried for charges of murdering Mousa Yaish - a Jew - last December in Raida," said Yahya Mousa, the Rabbi of the Jews living in Sana'a.

"Two days is not enough for packing everything, but they cannot stay any longer because officials and tribal chiefs have told them to leave by tomorrow," said Mousa.

The Rabbi said the Jews do not want to leave their houses, but they are afraid for their lives especially after the government told them to move for their own security.

Small communities

"In the threats, they asked us to stop the Israeli air strikes on Gaza, yet we are Yemeni citizens and we strongly condemn the attacks," said the Rabbi.

Rabbi Yahya Mousa has been living in a government residential complex in Sana'a along with 66 other Jews since early 2006 when Al Houthi rebels forced them to leave their villages in Al Salem in Sa'ada province.

The 332 people, the two small Jewish communities of Raida and Al Salem, are the only Jews remaining in Yemen after tens of thousands migrated to Israel.

About 50,000 Yemeni Jews immigrated to Israel during 1949-1950 in the so-called 'flying carpet' trips.

The relatives of Al Abdi, who said he killed the Jew last December to get closer to Allah, also sent murder threats to local journalists in Amran for reporting about the hearings of the trial.

"I received murder threats from relatives of Abdul Aziz Al Abdi, they do not want me to write about the murder, they do not want me to write about the trials," said journalist Mahoud Taha.


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