Jews in Eye of Al-Qaeda Storm

Attention in the war against int’l terrorism and Al-Qaeda is once again drawn to Yemen, the Arabian peninsula nation where 300 Jews still remain.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 12:23 PM

Jews in Yemen
Jews in Yemen
Israel news photo

Attention in the war against int’l terrorism and Al-Qaeda is once again drawn to Yemen, the Arabian peninsula country where perhaps 300 Jews still remain.

Yemen’s ties with Al-Qaeda were highlighted last week when it was revealed that the would-be bomber of the Detroit-bound airliner on Friday, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had visited Yemen over the past few months. Al-Qaeda’s network in Yemen has not only taken credit for the attempted attack, but it also released original photographs of Abdulmutallab grinning in front of an Al-Qaeda banner, and promised to "continue on this path until we achieve success.”

Furthermore, the Yemeni-based Al-Qaeda statement congratulated Ft. Hood mass-murderer Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan for killing 13 Americans and urged fellow Muslims to follow in his footsteps and kill American soldiers.

Yemenite connections with Al-Qaeda go back to the fact that Osama Bin-Laden’s father lived there. The country was the site of the launching of Al Qaeda’s jihad against the U.S. in 1992 when a hotel in Aden used by U.S. troops was bombed. Eight years later, the suicide bombing of the USS Cole off Aden killed 17 American sailors.

In addition, the year-old Yemen-based “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” is led by a former Yemeni Bin-Laden aide named Naser Abdel Karim Al-Wahishi. Leader Al-Wahishi was among 23 Al-Qaeda terrorists who escaped from a Yemeni prison in 2006, and is one of many terrorists currently in Yemen who are on Saudi Arabia's most wanted list.

The Yemenite terror band has been blamed for a series of recent attacks in Yemen, and has issued calls to get the ''infidels'' out of the Arabian peninsula.

Jews in Yemen: Largely Staying Put
This past year, close to 50 Jews made Aliyah to Israel from Yemen – but approximately 300 still remain. The ancient Yemenite Jewish community, going back more than 2,500 years, was almost completely translocated to Israel during Israel’s Operation Magic Carpet in the late 1940’s; tens of thousands of Yemenite Jews were brought to Israel at that time. 

Now, again, free flights are being arranged by U.S. sources, including the Department of State, to extricate the remaining Jews. However, the response has not been overwhelming – despite the murder a year ago of a Hebrew teacher in the small town of Raydah. The victim, a father of nine, was killed by a Muslim Yemenite who demanded that he convert to Islam.  The Jews of the town had previously complained about Islamic against them, but the government paid little heed. The victim, like many of his Jewish neighbors, had ties with the Satmar Hassidic community in New York, which discourages them from moving to Israel.

In the 1980's, over 20,000 Yemenite Jews converted to Islam, according to an official of the Israeli Federation of Yemenite Jews. Click here for full story.