A family of Yemenite Jews reunites in Israel on Wednesday. Credit: Israel Hayom video screenshot.
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) As tensions run high and instability
mounts in Yemen, the Jewish Agency for Israel on Wednesday orchestrated a
complex covert mission, spanning two continents, to bring a group of 17
Yemenite Jews to Israel and unite several families that have been separated for
the last two years.
Five of the 17 Yemenite Jews landed on Wednesday, while
the remaining 12, who had been smuggled to Argentina two years ago by Satmar Hassidim,
were flown from there to Israel to reunite with their families.
The Yemenite Jews were smuggled out of Argentina without
notifying the Satmar group that had taken them in. The Jewish Agency, which
coordinated the mission with several Israeli government agencies, reported that
the complex operation had been prompted by concerns for the safety of Yemen’s
tiny Jewish community, as extreme Muslim groups posed a constant threat.
The Satmar community opposes Zionism and aims to combat
immigration to Israel. In recent years, its members have smuggled Jews out of
Yemen and absorbed them in various communities across the globe.
The new immigrants will now be absorbed at one of the Jewish
Agency absorption centers in southern Israel.
Since 2009, when anti-Semitic threats began to mount in
Yemen, Israel has absorbed a record of 150 Yemenite Jews. In December 2008,
Jewish teacher Moshe Ya’ish al-Nahari was murdered by a Muslim Yemenite
activist who demanded that his victim convert to Islam. In May 2012, Jewish
community leader Aharon Zindani was stabbed to death in Sanaa.