The man—a Yemenite Jew living in Ashkelon whose name has not been revealed—made aliyah 20 years ago after he had been imprisoned back in Yemen for hanging an Israeli flag outside his home. Since then, he has visited Yemen four times using a foreign passport. His family in Israel is concerned that he was captured by Islamic State while on his latest trip.
“I’m very concerned about him,” his daughter said. “If he had arrived there, I believe he would’ve contacted us. I’m very much afraid he was captured by ISIS. Unfortunately, no one is helping us.”
During his previous visit to Yemen in 2013, the man was detained on suspicion of spying for Israel. He was only released when rebels attacked the city, forcing authorities to free all prisoners. The man decided to travel to Yemen again in order to bring his brother back to Israel.
“We tried to convince him not to go but it didn’t help,” his daughter said. “He told me not to worry because he would only be there for a few days.”
The daughter became extremely concerned after her father told her he could not find a connecting flight from Jordan to Yemen, and was taking a ride with three Saudi men who refused payment.
“That’s when I started suspecting. Why are strangers not taking money? He didn’t listen to me, and I don’t know what has happened to him since. After a few weeks, we made inquiries and we were told he didn’t make it there. I contacted someone in Jordan and I was told he left Jordan, but they didn’t know where he went,” she said.
The Israeli government is unable to help the family locate the man because Israel and Yemen do not have diplomatic relations. In the past, Israeli security officials had warned the man not to travel to Yemen.