-YEMEN’S JEWISH COMMUNITY: Security forces increase protection

UPDATE- January 5, 2009

“YEMEN: Jews in north increasingly being harassed” – UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (IRIN)

2008122411SANAA,  JANUARY 5, 2009 (IRIN) –  Members of the small Jewish community of some 270 people in Amran Governorate, northern Yemen, say they have been receiving renewed death threats from their Muslim neighbours since the start of the Israeli offensive against Gaza on 27 December.

Harassment and intimidation have been stepped up: On 4 January a number of schoolchildren attacked Jews with sticks and stones in Raydah District during a protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza, local Jews said.

“Zaher Salem, 36, was injured after boys threw stones, hitting him in the head. The boys also attacked Jews in a number of houses, breaking windows and frightening children,” Hayeem Yaish, a Jewish activist, told IRIN.

Yaish said Jews had been receiving threats from Muslim extremists since the killing of a Jew on 11 December by a Muslim extremist, but that harassment had increased since the Israeli action in Gaza.

“The protesters told us the state won’t protect us and that they would attack us secretly if not openly,” he said, adding: “We are intimidated every day and our pain grows constantly. We even receive threats on our mobile phones.”

The Interior Ministry’s Information Centre said on 4 January that the boys who had attacked the Jews – along with the boys’ fathers – had been arrested by the authorities. . .

The Jews, unlike other local people in Amran Governorate, do not carry guns or daggers. Only the state can provide protection for them, said Yaish.

This report can be read in its entirety at: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=82193
(Photo credit: IRIN)
*  *  *

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

Yemen increases protection for its Jewish Community

“Until the rigid Salafi group infiltrated our community and spread extremist ideas, we lived in peace and as members of the same community.”

DECEMBER 17, 2008 –  Mohammed bin Sallam writes for the English language Yemen Times. This is what he said concerning “the trial of the air force officer who shot a prominent Yemeni Jew last week in Raidah, Amran, is to start on Tuesday. The murderer was dismissed from work four years ago, and was not imprisoned for the murder of his own wife two years ago because of being mentally unstable.”

moshe-nahariAMRAN, YEMEN:  December 14, 2008  – High level instructions ordered an urgent trail of Yemeni Jewish citizen’s murderer. The victim’s family insists on capital penalty as the only “just” verdict against the killer, who had escaped this fate the last time he killed based on mental disturbance.

Having high level instructions ordering the urgent trail is a good sign for the relatives who refuse to bury their relative until the case is resolved.

Meanwhile, security forces in Amran and Sana’a have increased protection measures for the Jewish community and visitors in preparation for the funeral of Moshe bin Yaish bin Yusif Nahari, 30, [seen in the photo above left] who was shot last Thursday by a Muslim extremist.

Nahari was a prominent activist in the community and a teacher in the local Jewish school. Although his mother and four sisters emigrated to Israel, he insisted on staying in Yemen with his father as he is the only son in his family and to help the remaining Jewish community in the country. He had previously studied Jewish religion and the Hebrew language in the USA for six years before returning to Yemen to live with his wife and five daughters and four sons.

Saeed Al-Ammar, rabbi of the entire Jewish community in Yemen, admitted in press statements that the community had been receiving threats recently by extremists demanding them to leave the country.

“As Yemenis we have the right to live here and feel safe. The state should protect us as minorities who just want to live in their country in peace,” said Al-Ammar who acknowledged the government’s support for Jews in Yemen but demanded it be increased, especially in light of the recent threats.

Many of Nahari’s relatives and members of the Yemeni Jewish community now living in Israel, the USA and Europe are currently traveling to Yemen in order to attend the funeral which is expected to take place this week.

Nahari’s family in Israel had a car accident soon after their arrival in Yemen. The car accident took place on the road to Amran from Sana’a airport on Friday, and both Nahari’s mother and one of his sisters were hospitalized for a few days before released to the care of relatives. Their conditions are stable but have not yet seen the body of their relative who was shot on Thursday in the central market of Raidah, the family’s home town where the small Jewish community of less than a thousand resides.

The mother and sisters insist on taking Nahari’s body back with them to be buried in Israel according to Yahya Yahouda Dhahiri, a member of the community currently living in London, especially since the father is very likely to leave Yemen with them after the death of his only son.

The killer, Abdulaziz Hamoud Al-Abdi, is from the same town which had hosted Muslims and Jews for centuries. He is currently in custody after confessing to the murder, and security is investigating another eight men who were arrested on Friday in connection to the killing.

The incident was the first of its kind for decades, according to Raidah local council’s director.

“Until the rigid Salafi group infiltrated our community and spread extremist ideas, we lived in peace and as members of the same community,” said a tribal source from the area referring to the recent problems caused by the fundamentalists and their targeting Jewish minorities and harassing their children in school.

Those close to the deceased claim that the extremist had met with Moshe Nahari three days before the murder to give him an ultimatum either to become a Muslim, leave Yemen or die.

“We demand the President of the Republic who is a president for all Yemenis to investigate the murder and ensure justice is carried out against the murderer and those who wish to spread hatred and violence on earth,” said Abraham bin Yahya bin Yusif a member of the community.

Simultaneously, the Jewish community’s leaders held consecutive meetings on Thursday and Friday at Shiekh Kahlan Mujahid Abu Shawarib’s house to discuss the consequences of this murder. Abu Shawareb is the local sheikh of Kharef and is respected by both the Muslims and Jews in his area

Yahya Yaish, son of a former rabbi, declared that the community decided against burying Nahari’s body until his murder is resolved according to the Yemeni tribal tradition, even though Nahari’s mother and sisters demand to bury him in Israel.

The above article can be read in its original form at: http://yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=1216&p=front&a=1

(Photo credit: Yemen Times- Moshe Nahari (left) teaching younger Yemeni Jews how to repair house furniture)

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