Yemen’s last Jews eye exodus after Islamist militia takeover

Yemeni Jews demonstrate demanding the resumption of government financial and food aid to Jewish families living in the capital city outside the Cabinet office in Sanaa in this March 10, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/Files

(Reuters) – A few worried families are all that remain of Yemen’s ancient Jewish community, and they too may soon flee after a Shi’ite Muslim militia seized power in the strife-torn country this month.

Harassment by the Houthi movement – whose motto is “Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam” – caused Jews in recent years to largely quit the northern highlands they shared with Yemen’s Shi’ites for millennia.

But political feuds in which the Jews played no part escalated last September into an armed Houthi plunge into the capital Sanaa, the community’s main refuge from which some now contemplate a final exodus.

Around six Yemeni Jews from the same family arrived in Israel on Friday, members of the community told Reuters.

“Since last September, our movements have become very limited for fear of the security situation, and there are some members of the community who preferred to leave Yemen,” sighed chief rabbi Yahya Youssef, sitting in his apartment within a walled compound next to ministry of defense…

So the Houthis have hijacked Islam too? Awful lot of that going around these days.  

The article says there are 200-300 Jews left in Yemen, down from over 40,000 in 1949.