In Clandestine Operation 17 Yemeni Jews Move to Israel


In a covert operation, the Jewish Agency succeeded in bringing 17 Jews, including the community’s rabbi with a 600 yr-old Torah from Yemen, but sadly leaving the remaining 40-50 Jews who refuse to leave.

By Itamar Eichner and Roi Kais


A group of 17 Yemeni Jews travelled to Israel before dawn on Monday in a secret operation organized by the Jewish Agency.

New immigrants arrive in Israel – Photo: Arielle Di-Porto, Jewish Agency

The new immigrants were the last Jews in Yemen seeking to leave their country of residence, which is in the midst of a bloody civil war.

The group, which lived in the city of Raydah, included the community’s rabbi, who also serves as its kosher slaughterer. He brought a 600-year-old Torah with him. Following these Jews’ departure, there are no longer any Jews in Yemen who live as part of an organized Jewish community. 

About 40-50 Jews in Yemen refuse to leave. Most live in Sanaa, although a few remain in Raydeh. Jews have been increasingly harassed in recent years by radical Muslims.

In 2008, Moshe Ya’ish al-Nahari, a Jewish teacher, was murdered in Raydeh because he was Jewsh. Four years after that, his wife and children moved to Israel. In 2012, another Jewish leader in Raydeh was murdered Aaron Joseph Zindani. The Jewish Agency brought his coffin to Israel.

Antique Torah scroll – Photo: Arielle Di-Porto, Jewish Agency

About a year ago, a young Jewish woman was kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam, after which she was married off to a Muslim man against her will.

This is a relatively large group of people, so the decision to get them out was not easy,” a source told Ynet, “but certainly the current situation in Yemen and the war contributed to the decision. We must thank the Jewish rabbis in the United States who worked to bring these Jews to Israel.”


View original Ynet publication at:,7340,L-4781145,00.html