As 13 Yemeni Jews leave pro-Iran region for Cairo, community of 50,000 down to 6.
Family confirmed to depart for Egypt in deal with Houthis; country’s remaining half-dozen Jews live in areas controlled by Iranian-backed militias but seem to want to stay.
Thirteen Yemeni Jews were brought to Egypt from Yemen in a deal with Iranian-backed militias that ruled their areas, shrinking the number of Jews remaining in Yemen to six, The Times of Israel has confirmed.
Their departure was first reported by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday. The paper said they had been expelled.
A knowledgeable official told The Times of Israel that the 13 Yemeni Jews — some of the ancient community’s last members — had not been directly forced to leave the country. Rather, they had reached an exit agreement with the Iran-backed Houthi militias, which rule parts of Yemen.
The 13 Jews received an offer to go to Israel by way of the port city of Aden, which is controlled by the United Arab Emirates’ proxy in the war-torn country, the Southern Transitional Council. But they refused.
Several Yemeni Jewish families have been resettled in the Emirates in recent months. The families were given what the official termed “very good financial conditions,” including housing units.
The Yemeni Jewish community — once over 50,000 strong — has dwindled in recent decades. Between 1949 and 1950, Israel brought nearly 49,000 Yemenite Jews to the state.
The exodus was precipitated by growing antisemitism following the establishment of the State of Israel — but also by increasing anarchy in Yemen itself following a coup attempt. Zionist sentiment had also slowly grown among the Yemenite community for decades prior to the mass migration, spurred by the community’s religiosity.
Presently, six Jews remain in Yemen, including one currently in Houthi prison. Diplomatic efforts made to free the imprisoned Jew, Levi Salem Marhabi, have so far proved unsuccessful.
“They want to remain. There were overtures made for them to come to Israel, but for now, they want to stay put,” the official said.