UN acknowledges that Yemen Jews have been driven out

It is progress of sorts when the UN acknowledges that Yemen’s Jewish population has been systematically driven from the country – but it is too little, too late – when only seven Jews still remain. It is too much to ask the UN to UN to use what’s left of its authority to  press for the release of Levi Salem Marhabi, who was unjustly imprisoned on the grounds that he helped smuggle out a Torah scroll? JTA reports via Jewish News. 

Yemeni Rabbi Youssef Moussa, left, and his brother Salem sit in an apartment in Sanaa, Yemen, Nov. 10, 2009, after fleeing a conflict in the northern part of the country. (Marwan Naamani/AFP via Getty Images/JTA)
Rabbi Youssef Moussa and his brother Salem were hounded out by Houthis from their home in Raeda province in 2009 (photo: JTA)

JTA — Systematic persecution of Jews in Yemen by Houthi rebels and a previous government has driven the ancient community almost entirely out of the country, with as few as seven individuals remaining, a United Nations panel said.

The revelations, first reported this week by Jewish Insider, were included in a report commissioned by the UN Security Council on the civil war ravaging the country.

According to the report, one of the seven verified Jews in Yemen is imprisoned. The community once numbered some 50,000.

“The panel documented the systematic persecution of Jews in Houthi-controlled areas,” said the report, released January 26. “Most of Jewish population left Yemen after several years of persecution, which started under former President Ali Abdullah Saleh but intensified under the Houthis. The panel knows of seven Jewish individuals still in Yemen, including one who remains detained despite an order to release him issued in July 2019.”

That appears to refer to Levi Marhabi, arrested for his role in bringing an ancient Torah to Israel.

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