• Nathan Roi
  • Nathan Roi
  • Sasson Tiram
Inside the Jewish Agency

Daughter of Slain Yemenite Jew Offers Stirring Words During Jewish Agency Memorial Day Service

"My father went out to shop for Shabbat and never came home because he refused to abandon his Jewish faith.”

Yom Hazikaron — Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terror — is a difficult today for the global Jewish community. On this day we remember and remind ourselves of the price Israel has paid (and continues to pay) for its establishment and existence.

Leah Nahari, 16, was only nine-years-old when her father, Jewish teacher Moshe Ya’ish Nahari, was murdered in an anti-Semitic attack in Yemen in 2008. But she remembers.

“My eight siblings and I were born and raised in the Jewish tradition in the city of Raydah in Yemen," Leah said at a ceremony held on May 11th in the plaza in of The Jewish Agency headquarters building in Jerusalem to memorialize Jews murdered in anti-Semitic attacks around the world, along with Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. "My father was dedicated to his family and his community and taught us to treat others with kindness and to love the Torah. One bright day, he went out to shop for Shabbat and never returned."

She continued, “A stranger accosted my father and demanded that he convert to Islam and abandon his Jewish faith. My father refused and responded in his characteristically gentle way, ‘I will remain a Jew and you will remain a Muslim.’ The man pulled out a gun and shot my father several times. Our family as I knew it no longer existed. Our lives were shattered and full of fear. The murderer’s family threatened us, and hatred of Jews increased. In 2009, three of my siblings and I fled to Israel with the assistance of The Jewish Agency, and in 2012 we were reunited with our mother and smallest siblings, who also made Aliyah."

According to Jewish Agency data, more than 200 Jews have been murdered in antisemitic attacks since Israel’s establishment. Members of the Nahari family kindled a memorial flame together with Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky and lay a wreath in memory of the victims.

The ceremony was hosted by The Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), Keren Hayesod-UIA, The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), and Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA (JFC-UIA). The event was attended by Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of the KKL-JNF Board of DirectorsDanny Atar, JFNA Senior Vice President for Global Operations and Director General of the JFNA Israel Office Rebecca Caspi, Director General of the JFC-UIA Israel Office Yossi Tanuri, and CEO and Director General of The Jewish Agency for IsraelAlan Hoffmann.

“The war on our right to be a free people in our land has no borders," said Sharansky. "We have been attacked in France, in Copenhagen, and in Argentina. Today we return to the attack in the marketplace in Raydah, Yemen, in which the Jewish teacher Moshe Ya’ish Nahari was murdered because he refused to abandon his faith. His last words were, ‘I will remain a Jew.’ Our enemies keep trying to destroy Jewish life and we continue to build it. They try to sever the chain of generations and we keep it going strong. Our tool is Aliyah. The entire Nahari family made Aliyah after their father’s murder and was successfully integrated into Israeli society. The final 19 Jews of Raydah made Aliyah this year, along with some 30,000 Jews from around the world and 60,000 Jewish young people who have participated in Israel experience programs. We will continue to strengthen the connection between Jews and Israel around the world in order to ensure that the final words of Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl and Jewish teacher Moshe Ya’ish Nahari — ‘we are Jews and we will remain Jews’ — live on.”

11 May 2016 / 3 Iyar 5776 0
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