Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Yemenite Jews show their mettle

This article, written 18 months ago, spotlights the intimate relationship that the ancient Jewish community of Yemen had with metallurgy, skills which they successfully transferred to Israel when the vast majority were airlifted there in the 1950s 'on the wings of eagles.'

"Jews continued to trickle out of Yemen until 1954. The Yemenite hierarchy came to the distressing realization that the country's economy was hemorrhaging with the drain of basic industries and irreplaceable artisans. The government slammed shut the emigration doors so tightly that even sending a letter out of the country could land a Jew in Jail.

"Yemen launched a campaign of taking over Jewish enterprises and the replacement of Jewish artisans. Some success in this effort, plus delicate diplomatic maneuvering, created an opening for the removal of more Jews. Jonathan Mark noted in his article that in 1992, "Operation Magic Carpet II" began selectively shepherding several hundred more Jews to Israel.

"But 800 Yemenite Jews remained, locked into a country which held them hostage. Significantly, most reside in the industrial sectors of Raida and Sa'ada." Read article in full.

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