Moshe Nahari, a Torah teacher and a well-known figure in Yemen's Jewish community, was murdered on Thursday morning in Reida, a city north of the capital city, Sanaa. According to the Arabic daily Ash-Sharq il-Awsat, Nahari's attacker called out, “Jew, receive the message of Islam” before shooting at him.
Nahari's friends said he had never attempted to hide his Jewishness. He hung a star of David on the door of his home and wore long peyot (sidelocks). One of his brothers is a leading rabbi in the Yemenite community.
The murderer fired on Nahari several times, made sure he was dead, and then waited for police to come. Ash-Sharq il-Awsat identified the killer as Abed el-Abdi, a former pilot. El-Abdi murdered his wife two years ago, but was not imprisoned because he agreed to give his wife's family financial compensation.
Yemeni officials said the shooter who killed Nahari was deranged. The shooter was arrested, and allegedly told police he had killed Nahari because “Those Jews need to become Muslim.”
Nahari, 35, is survived by a wife and nine children. In his life, he established a school where he taught local Jewish children Torah and basic professional skills. Reida Jews said his school aimed to teach Torah according to Yemenite traditions in an area where the Jewish community is heavily influenced by the Satmar chassidic group.
Nahari also forged contacts with Jews around the world and gathered donations for Yemen's small Jewish community, including Torah scrolls and other holy books. He remained in Yemen in order to strengthen the local Jewish community despite opportunities to relocate to Israel or the United States, friends said.