Yemenite Jew (Photo: Reuters)
It should not come as a surprise to learn from the Jerusalem Post, despite the Israeli government's best efforts, that the remaining Jews of Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen are insisting on staying put. Not for nothing are they called the remnant of their once great communities: they have stubbornly survived through worse upheavals than the current 'Arab Spring'. However, do not take the statements of local dhimmi leaders at face value: they are directed at their Arab rulers no less than at the media. (With thanks: Lily)
Over the past several months a series of uprisings has shaken the Arab world, felling dictators and ushering in a period of great hope and fear for the future. But despite the growing political instability in the region, Jewish communities in Arab lands have so far chosen to stay.
The remaining Jews in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt – tiny remnants of once-much-larger communities decimated by decades of voluntary and involuntary emigration – have turned down repeated offers to leave by Jewish organizations and Israel concerned with their safety.
In Yemen, where a deadly confrontation has been going on for months between the government and protesters, the country’s 250 Jews were recently asked by a Jewish group if they needed help in emigrating, a source involved in talks told The Jerusalem Post on Monday, on condition of anonymity.
“The response was, basically, no,” the source said in an email.
“Jews in Yemen say they feel safe and that the political mayhem does not touch them.
Those in Sanaa continue to receive assistance from the Yemen Government and are less motivated to leave.
“If they were to leave, they would be looking for a destination likely to provide assistance on a continuing basis. The preferred destination is UK at the present time, the second choice being Israel.”
Smaller communities in the Yemeni cities of Amran and Raidah that receive stipends from the Satmar Hassidic movement – a vehemently anti-Zionist religious community based in the US – have also turned down offers to leave.
“Bottom Line: No one is leaving at this time, but a number of them are making contingency plans to leave,” the source said.
“The border, however, is open and they are free to leave should they change their mind.”
Similarly, the vast majority of Tunisia’s estimated 1,500 Jews – of whom about 1,100 live on the island of Djerba in the south, and the rest in the capital Tunis – have chosen to stay despite extensive efforts by the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel to bring them to the Jewish state.
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