According to the article below from The Yemen Times, yet another Arab government is talking of granting nationality rights to their expatriate Jews. The previous Yemen president Al-Hamdi even requested that the Jews return.
What lies behind this recent flurry of conciliatory noises? They delegitimise Israel as the Jewish homeland: the Jews are viewed as ‘our Jews’, compliant dhimmis, whose ancient ties to their Arab homelands trump their loyalty to Israel. In the case of Morocco and Libya, I believe the charm offensive towards Jews is a cynical bid to attract Jewish investment. There is also the matter of abandoned Jewish property that cannot be developed unless it is reclaimed, or until the owner demands compensation. And if Jews do return, it would be a propaganda coup for Arab governments.
Mohammed bin Sallam of The Yemen Times finds a Yemenite Israeli, who still has family in Yemen, prepared to sing the praises of the current Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh:
“Former Yemeni President Ibrahim Al-Hamdi assured that all Yemeni immigrants, including those who immigrate to Israel, have the right to dual nationality according to the Yemeni Constitution. Official statistics reveal that there are 54,000 Yemeni Jews in Israel. Al-Hamdi later requested they return to Yemen, promising them full rights and duties, as is the case with Yemeni Muslims.
“Under Al-Hamdi, Jews numbered more than 20,000; however, this number decreased following his tragic assassination, as many Jewish, Israeli and American organizations hastened to deport them (of course Jews never flee discrimination or insecurity – ed) to Israel with the help of Yemeni mediators. Only around 1,000 remained in Yemen, mostly children and elderly people.
“Unofficial sources assert that Jews of Yemeni origin comprise 10 percent of Israel’s population, or approximately 600,000. Further, more than 12,000 Yemeni Jews reside in the United States and approximately 15,000 in Canada and the U.K. (I think these numbers may be exaggerated – ed)
“The question is: Do some or all of them have the right to dual nationality, as is the case with most Yemeni expatriates worldwide?
“Yahya Al-Marhabi immigrated to Israel seven years ago with his wife and children, leaving behind his elderly father and more than 10 brothers and sisters. In his early 30s, Al-Marhabi is married with two sons and three daughters and living in a house in Beir Al-Saba’, where most Yemeni Jews live.
“He explained, “I came to visit my father, mother and brothers who live in Sana’a and Amran. My father came from Sa’ada governorate several months ago to escape the ongoing war there.”
“Both in his name and on behalf of all Yemeni Jews, Al-Marhabi thanked President Ali Abdullah Saleh for his attitude toward his family and all Jews dispelled (sic) from Sa’ada, commenting that such attitude was welcomed warmly by Yemeni Jews both in Israel and across the globe.”
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