Yemen 'foils murder attempt on Rabbi'

By Jessica Elgot, November 20, 2009
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Yemeni Jews: Many have fled to the US and Israel for fear of persecution

Yemeni Jews: Many have fled to the US and Israel for fear of persecution

Yemen has claimed it has foiled an assassination attempt on a Jewish leader, Rabbi Yahiya Ben-Yousef.

Three armed Houthi rebels have been arrested attempting to enter the Jewish area of the Yemeni capital Sana’a.

They were believed to be trying to kill Rabbi Ben-Yousef, the head of the local community.

Rabbi Ben-Yousef had apparently been critical of the Houthi rebellion, claiming the rebels had displaced and intimidated Yemeni Jews and stolen their property, including Torah scrolls.

Only around 300 Jews currently remain in Yemen, and growing Islamic militancy has brought a rise in antisemitism.

Around 120 Yemeni Jews had been expected to move to London in April, after the Home Office agreed to them rejoining family members who had settled in Stamford Hill. But despite the danger, the Yemeni Jews decided to remain longer in their homes.

Dozens of Jews have been evacuated from Yemen in a secret operation by the US government.

Many arrived in New York in July. Since then about 60 people have immigrated. They have been relocated to the Jewish community in Monsey, upstate New York, a suburb popular with Orthodox Jewish groups.

Last updated: 2:23pm, November 20 2009