'Jews Were Ordered to Convert or Leave'

Jewish escapee from Yemen tells of governmental ultimatum shortly after arriving in Israel.

Hillel Fendel,

New arrivals from Yemen (file)
New arrivals from Yemen (file)
Flash 90

A Jewish refugee from Yemen who arrived in Israel just a few days ago tells that the government of Yemen recently issued a foreboding proclamation to all Jews in the country: "Either get out of Yemen, or convert to Islam."

The information was related by the refugee to Israel's Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation, Likud MK Ayoub Kara. Kara reported the news to The Algemeiner on Sunday.

The newly-arrived refugee was able to leave Yemen and arrive in Israel by disguising himself as a Muslim. He left just a few days ago, Kara said, and traveled through Saudi Arabia and then Jordan before entering Israel.

The refugee told Kara that if the remaining 80 Yemenite Jews do not leave, "the government said it would not be able to protect them." Calls have already been sounded in Israel for an airlift of Yemen's Jews, reminiscent of Operation Magic Carpet in the 1950's.

Kara is a member of Israel’s Druze community who frequently takes Jewish nationalist positions. He outspokenly opposed his party leader Ariel Sharon's 2005 disengagement/expulsion from Gaza, for instance. He plans to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to discuss rescuing the Jews of Yemen.

Deputy Minister Kara also plans to meet with Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver on the same topic.

The situation for Yemenite Jewry has been dangerous for the past several years, and when Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in February of 2012, the situation worsened. Over 150 Jews fled Yemen between 2009 and 2013, the Clarion Project reports.

Houthi rebels who have taken over the capital of Yemen are recognizable by their logo with the words “Death to Israel” and “Cursed be the Jews.”




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