A Jew and a Muslim have reportedly been jailed after being accused of helping Jews escape Yemen and ' smuggle' out with them an old Torah scroll.
The scroll which the Yemen government now claims was 'smuggled' out of the country
The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels claim
that the Torah scroll belongs to Yemen. The Dahari family, they allege,
had no right to take it with them to Israel.
"The statement is
absolutely false and I urge them to release the detainees immediately", says Manny Dahari, US-based son of Rabbi Saliman Dahari who brought the scroll out with him."
The Torah scroll has been in my family for hundreds of years and we will
never give it up for anything or anyone."
Manny Dahari (pictured) says that he has received offers from organisations to take custody of the scroll and protect it under international law. "My
family will respectfully decline. My family has protected it for
hundreds of years and will continue to do so for thousands of years. "
He challenged the Yemeni government to sue his family in a court of law.
The Yemen government and rebels are likely seeking to deflect criticism from social media networks that they connived with Israel to engineer last weekend's exodus of the 19 Jews.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the arrival of a final group of Yemenite Jewish immigrants in Israel
Monday morning aroused widespread criticism from Yemenite citizens on
social media networks, claiming that the move was a result of a secret
understanding between Israel and pro-Iran Houthi militias.
The newspaper reports that
opponents to this "secret deal" between Israel and the Houthis launched a
social media campaign defaming Houthis as traitors under the hashtag,
"The Houthis are Israeli agents".
The charge that Jewish private or communal property is part of a nation's heritage has been used by Egypt, which lays claim to Jewish communal registers and Torah scrolls over 100 years old. Iraq also uses the argument to reinforce its claim to the Iraqi Jewish archive, which was seized from individual Jews, schools and synagogues.