Some of Yemen’s last Jews
Yemen’s culture minister, who
was recently honoured for her work combating extremism and
discrimination against women, said she is giving her award to Yemen’s
dwindling Jewish population. Report in the Times of Israel:(With thanks: Michelle; Lily) See my comment below.
Arwa Othman won Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award in September.
At a Thursday celebration in Sanaa, Othman called for “tolerance” and
dedicated her award to “brothers and friends from the Jewish community.”
Othman has been subjected to a smear campaign
by hard-line Salafi groups because of her civil rights work and support
for the Jewish community.
According to the Jewish Agency, fewer than 90
Jews live in Yemen — half of them in a guarded compound which protects
the US Embassy in the capital of Sanaa. They are often subject to
attacks by both Sunni and Shiite Muslim terrorists.
My comment: rights activists in Yemen are brave and outspoken (and in the past have had sympathetic coverage in the local press). They use Jews, the only non-Muslim minority, as a barometer of Yemeni society’s human and civil rights in general. But it is not clear what the Jews’ situation is like after the Houthi invasion. We do not even know how many Jews remain in Yemen – the figures quoted here* are almost certainly out of date.
* According to a Yemen Times article of 28 November 2013 (with thanks: Andrew) there were 84 Jews in Yemen (29 in Raydah and 55 in the Sana’a compound). There are almost certainly fewer now.