Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yemeni Jews

Increasing tensions in the Arab-Israeli conflict are bringing some Yemenis to scapegoat and attack that country's Jewish community:
"Yemen is in danger of losing what's left of its Jewish community, which has called the country home for more than 2,500 years and provided its kings for a century.

"Growing intimidation and violence are pushing the 300 Jews left in the Arabian Peninsula country to flee to Israel or the US. Four months ago, a gunman shot dead Jewish studies teacher Moshe Yaish Nahari, a father of nine, in the town of Raida, north of the capital of Sana'a...

"'Because of the deteriorating security situation, the Yemeni Jewish community as opposed to others in the Arab world is in need of making very serious decisions regarding their future,' said Yehudit Barsky, a Middle East expert at the American Jewish Committee, a New York-based advocate for Jewish rights. 'From a historical perspective, it's a sad situation. They have lived there for so long.'

"Yemeni Jews say they fear more violence after a Raida court in February ordered Nahari's convicted killer to pay blood money of 5.5 million riyals (Dh100,975), sparing him the death sentence."

I wish I knew more about the socio-political landscape in rural Yemen where these events are taking place. Traditionally, Jews were considered "weak," and attacking them was dishonorable. What is the interplay of the current situation with tribal morals and nationalist ideas?



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