Thursday, August 15, 2013

Covert operation reunites Yemenites in Israel

 The moment of joy when a father and son were reunited after a two-year separation

Two years ago, Point of No Return was puzzled by reports of Jews desperate to flee the civil war in Yemen stranded in Cairo, unable to join 21 others who had been spirited to Argentina by the Satmar sect. At the same time, the UK was refusing to admit them as refugees, despite the pleas of British MPs. Now the story can be told: yesterday the Jewish Agency managed to reunite, at Ben Gurion airport,  two sets of parents from Yemen with their 10 children, who were flown in from Argentina. The Jerusalem Post reports that it was a tricky, covert operation -  rescuing Jews in peril of their lives from Yemen, and their relatives from the clutches of the anti-Zionist Satmars. This leaves just 90 Jews  in Yemen, with some 45 holding out in rabbi Yahya Youssef's Sana'a compound, and the rest in Raida in the north. (Wth thanks: Ahuva)

The Jewish Agency on Wednesday night helped a group of 17 Jews to move to Israel from Yemen, in a covert maneuver reminiscent of 1949-50’s Operation Magic Carpet, the first mass aliya after the foundation of the state.
Citing heightened security concerns and increasing tensions in Yemen, two sets of parents were brought directly to Israel, along with 10 of their children who had been living in Argentina.
The parents from Yemen waiting for their children to arrive from Argentina

Clip showing the families reunited (with thanks: Ahuva)  

The immigrants landed at Ben-Gurion Airport and were taken to an absorption center in the South.

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said: “Tonight we are privileged to engage in a mission that combined the saving of lives, the reunification of a family and immigration to Israel.

Behind the scenes of this operation lies the dedication and expertise of the Jewish Agency and our partner organizations who all contributed to the mission’s success.

“The Jewish Agency stands at the ready to bring any Yemeni Jew who expresses interest in making aliya to Israel, and to help the local community in any way possible,” Sharansky said.

The members of the group had attempted to enter the United Kingdom with the hope of obtaining refugee status. However, after leaving Yemen, they learned that they were denied entry to the UK and would be brought to Argentina instead.

Ten of these children (with Yahia Karni the father of six and and Haim Karni the father of four) were on Wednesday’s flight to Israel.

Read article in full 

Walla! news article (Hebrew)

Haaretz: The children were brought out of Argentina 'without the knowledge of their Satmar patrons'
 

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