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Houthis Expel the Last of Yemeni Jews

Houthis Expel the Last of Yemeni Jews

Sunday, 28 March, 2021 - 07:30
A Yemeni Jewish family gathered in the capital Sanaa before it was overrun by Houthi militias in 2014 (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Houthis have managed to deport the last of Yemen’s Jews by sending 13 members of three different families away from their homes in Sanaa. All that remains from the several–thousand-year-old community are four seniors, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Looking for a new place to call home, the exiled 13 are refusing to go to Israel and are waiting the UN refugee agency to transport them to any country that grants them asylum.

Their departure from Yemen came after withstanding years of pressure from Houthis and as part of a deal to free Levi Salem Marhabi, a Jew who was captured by the Iran-backed group’s intelligence around six years ago.

Houthis did not honor their own court’s ruling to release Marhabi and used his captivity as a bargaining chip to drive out whatever is left of the Jewish people in areas run by the militia.

So far, Houthis have succeeded in chasing Jews out of the governorates of Sanaa, Saada and Amran. The persecuted minority was moved out of their own country in three different batches.

“They gave us a choice between staying in the midst of harassment and keeping Salem a prisoner or leaving and having him released,” said one of those who were expelled.

“History will remember us as the last of Yemeni Jews who were still clinging to their homeland until the last moment,” they added.

“We had rejected many temptations time and time again, and refused to leave our homeland, but today we are forced.”

Marhabi, languishing in his prison cell in Sanaa, has suffered different kinds of torture and was eventually left partially paralyzed by a stroke.

Marhabi was arrested for aiding a Yemeni Jewish family in moving a very rare deerskin Torah scroll, claimed by some to be 800 years old, out of the war-torn country.

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