Thursday, April 07, 2016

Yemen airlift kept secret from Satmar anti-Zionists

 The  airlift of 17 new immigrants from Yemen to Israel was kept secret for fear that anti-Zionist Satmar Hasidim would try to thwart it, Al-Monitor claims:
Zion Dahari greets three young relatives, among the 17 Jews airlifted from Yemen (photo: Reuters)

On March 21, 17 new immigrants from Yemen landed in Israel. These are Jews who were born in the war-torn Muslim nation and brought to Israel in a secret operation, aided by many international players. The Jewish Agency, which works to encourage the immigration of Jews throughout the world to Israel, oversaw the operation.  

The secrecy of the operation did not only stem from the fear that Islamic elements would try to thwart it, but also from a fear that Jewish elements would actually try to foil the immigration of Yemeni Jews to Israel. These would be the Satmar Hasidim (ultra-Orthodox community), who are considered anti-Zionist and based in New York. According to Jews who have previously emigrated from Yemen, since 1991 Satmar Hasidim have tried to prevent Yemeni Jews from moving to Israel and have encouraged them to move to the United States instead. According to the Yemeni immigrants, the Hasidim told them that in Israel they could not keep their faith and customs, and that their children would leave the faith.

Indeed, in recent years many Yemeni Jewish families have immigrated to the United States and settled in the towns of Monsey and Monroe in New York State, and the Hasidim have helped them financially. The media has reported on some cases where Yemeni Jews were allegedly kept in the United States against their will.

“Their [Hasidim’s] method is based on disparaging the State [of Israel],” said Shlomo Jerafi, a 74-year-old veteran immigrant from Yemen who told Al-Monitor he has been active in recent years in all the operations bringing Yemeni Jews to Israel.

“Already in the early 1990s, when I first returned to Yemen,” he said, “I had to deal with the Satmars’ anti-Zionist propaganda. I had to convince them [the Jews] that in Israel no one cares if you’re religious or secular. But they didn’t believe me, because they were sure that they would force them to remove their [Jewish traditional skullcap] yarmulkes [in Israel], because that’s what the Satmar said.”

According to Jerafi, the reason that Yemeni Jews especially became a target for Satmar Hasidim is the fact that they are the only Jews in the Diaspora who have all remained religious. “You can see in all the waves of immigration, even the last one, that everyone has beards and sidelocks. When I brought Jews from Iraq, for instance, not one of them had a religious appearance. Even the great majority of Iranian Jews don’t look religious. They look exactly like the local Arabs and so they don’t interest the Satmar. The Satmars are truly convinced that only the religious can be saved from secularization.”

2 comments:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

The leader of the Satmar hasidim during the Shoah was Rabbi Joel Teitelboym. One of the notorious things about him is that he was enabled to escape the Holocaust in Hungary because Rudolf Kastner arranged for him to get on a train to Switzerland with some 1500 to 2000 or 3000 other Hungarian Jews. The catch was that Kastner made a deal with the Germans under which he and his associates would not tell other Hungarian Jews that they were going to death camps in Poland where the Germans would murder them. This was a betrayal of the vast majority of Hungarian Jews, some 800,000 in number before the Shoah. Ben Hecht wrote up this story in Perfidy.

Kastner made sure that he and his close family got on the train and were saved. Now, one of his granddaughters sits in the Knesset for the Labor Party. She does not see anything wrong with what her grandfather did. Instead, she [Meirav Mikha'eli] preaches to everybody else about morality.

Anonymous said...

Whatever said but this story by Yemeni family/ women those from first hand who went to Israel early days after State of Israel created tell a lot of things that may we all do not know.

Its really sad as we lost friend and neighborers who never foget.


Please read
"Born sometime in 1927 or 1928 to Yosef and Sa’ida Eden, Sara Eden spent the first five years of her life in a beautiful valley beside Jabal Bani Hajaj, south YemenIt was a happy childhood,” she remembers. “Economically it was hard but there was a happiness to life there, even if you had nothing you were happy... My dad loved to sing and dance and I remember we would hold each other’s hands and spin around.
We had good relations with the Arabs,” she says. “No problems at all. They never did anything wrong to us. On the contrary, they always battled to protect and defend the Jews.“For example, when my grandmother was widowed with four young kids, she worried that they would ‘Islamize’ her kids,” Eden remembers. “But everywhere she went she asked her neighbors to protect her kids and they did.”Eden says that for most of her childhood, going to the Land of Israel was a distant dream.


“I was five months pregnant when I got to Israel,” she says.

“After my daughter Mazal was born, they required that the babies stay in the nursery, and I would come to breastfeed her in the morning.”

“One evening they told me that my baby was sick and had been taken to the doctor,” Eden remembers. “Later they told me that she died.

“They stole her right in front of my eyes,” she says.

“They stole lots of our babies, including mine and my sisterin- law’s. We knew something was wrong because it’s not possible they all died.

“A few months later someone in the nursery said the babies had not died and they had been told not to say anything, but we still didn’t know who took them,” she continues.

“The woman said, ‘We don’t know who took them, we just know they were well dressed, took the healthy and pretty ones and sold them or took them outside the country.”


“As we went to school it started to change, but back in the neighborhood everyone was Yemenite,” he says. “Only after 10 years or so did we start to feel discrimination.”

Eden says there are pluses and minuses to life in Israel.

“It’s good in Israel economically but socially it has been hard,” she begins. “Especially for the kids in school because they wanted to separate the Ashkenazi kids from the Yemenite kids.

“It wasn’t so bad in Yemen,” Eden says. “Every evening we would all eat together, sing and dance. It was a wedding every night and our relations with Arabs was good.

“The Arabs cried when we left,” she remembers. “I loved our neighbors and if there had been telephones I would have been in contact with them every day.

“I’d love to go back to visit,” Eden adds. “If I could I’d be on the plane tomorrow.


‘We were not fleeing Yemen’
JP