For its Valentine’s Day story, the BBC decided to feature good news from Israel – for a change. Zechariah and Shama’a have been married for 91 years. Both were orphaned in Yemen and married aged 11 and 12. The news item does not spell out that this was to avoid forced conversion to Islam of Jewish orphans, but is refreshingly blunt in saying that the couple was forced to flee poverty and persecution . They have 64 grand- and great-grandchildren today.
Zechariah and Shama’a, still in love (photo:BBC)
Zechariah and Shama’a have been married for 91 years. As Jewish orphans in Yemen, they married young to avoid being wed outside of their faith and culture.
They survived extreme poverty and persecution, and were some of the first Yemeni Jews to move to Israel when the state was founded.