Group of new immigrants from Yemen landing today
(Thursday February 19th at 12 noon) at Ben Gurion airport
in special operation of the Jewish Agency for Israel

February 19, 2009 / 25 Shevat 5769

Among the new immigrants – one of the heads of the community in the city of Raida where Jews are being harassed by anti-Semitism

Photo-op ; Reception will take place at 1:30pm in the Arrivals Hall Terminal 3

In a special Jewish Agency aliyah operation, 10 new immigrants from Yemen are arriving in Israel today, Thursday February 19th .  The group will include nine family members of Said Ben Yisrael family, one of the heads of the Raida community, where there has recently been harassment of Jews, and another new immigrant from Raida.  This operation was carried out in cooperation with the Yemenite Jewish Federation of America.

There are approximately 280 Jews left today In Yemen, 230 of whom live in Raida in the Omran province and another 50 Jews in Sana'a the capital.  The Jews now in Sana'a had fled there from their homes in Sa'ade province about a year ago because of harassment by the Huthi, a group connected to Al Qaeda.   Most of the Jews of Yemen immigrated to Israel during Operation Magic Carpet in 1949.  Several hundred Jews immigrated in two subsequent smaller waves – in the mid 60's and in the beginning of the '90's.  Dozens of Yemenite Jews have moved to the U.S. and London over recent years, brought out by Satmar Hassidim who object to immigration to Israel.

Said Ben Yisrael, who is immigrating today to Israel together with his family, is one of the heads of the Raida Jewish community.  Several weeks ago, extremists threw a grenade into his courtyard.  Further to threats on his life, he went with his wife and seven children to live in Sana'a.  Upon landing in Israel, the family will proceed to Beit Shemesh accompanied by a Jewish Agency team.  The other new immigrant arriving today will be going to the Jewish Agency`s Ye'elim Absorption Center in Beersheva.

Yemenite Jews have the special protection of the President of Yemen Ali Abdallah Salah.  In recent years, though, there has been increased harassment of Jews against a background of anti-Semitism by Moslem extremists.  The tension reached a climax on December 10th 2008, when Moshe Yaish Nahari, father of 9, was murdered by a Moslem extremist.  Threats against Jews in Yemen became even worse following the recent war in Gaza.

Director General of the Jewish Agency, Moshe Vigdor, said that the Jewish Agency is closely following the situation of the community in Yemen and promises to help in any way possible. 

Director-General of Jewish Agency's Aliyah and Absorption Department Eli Cohen said that the Jewish Agency strives to ensure the safety of community members and that it is working to bring to Israel quickly most of the Jews in Yemen who wish to immigrate.  The new immigrants will receive special assistance from the Jewish Agency, including a grant of 40,000 shekels per family.

The activities of the Jewish Agency, including this operation, are funded by the United Jewish Communities, the Federations of North America; Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal; International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and foundations and donors from Israel and around the world.

In order to be updated as to the precise time of reception, please call the Office of the Spokesman 02-6202215.

For your attention:
You are obligated to present any additional  information not covered in this press release on the issue of immigration from Yemen to the censor.

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780 



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19 Feb 2009 / 25 Shevat 5769 0