Jews of Rada Expected to Leave Yemen by Pesach


yemenWith assistance by the US government and Jewish organizations in the US, 300 Jews living in Rada, Yemen are scheduled to emigrate by Pesach. Despite efforts by the Jewish Agency to persuade them to move to Israel, one-third have opted to immigrate to the US, which has caused considerable embarrassment to aliyah officials in Israel.

In recent years the Jews of Rada, a city located north of the capital city of Sanaa, have been subject to frequent physical harassment by their Muslim neighbors and the threat to their lives is real. Since last December’s murder of R’ Moshe Yaish-Nahari Hy”d, a prominent figure in the Jewish community, by a local Muslim who insisted he convert to Islam, the US State Department has been in contact with the Yemenite government to ameliorate the situation. The rescue operation has been organized by United Jewish Communities with assistance by organizations involved in resettlement of Jewish refugees.

The Satmar community in New York is also providing special assistance, maintaining constant contact with the kehilloh in Yemen based on the experience Satmar Chassidus has acquired in sheltering and integrating Jews from crisis situations in various countries. Thanks to their efforts, the US government has agreed to allow Jews to settle in Monsey, New York, which offers the chareidi milieu needed to accommodate their way of life.

The US Government is planning to pay flight costs and a fundraising drive by the Jewish Federation will cover housing and integration expenses. Hopefully the operation will be carried out by Pesach to allow them to celebrate in a state of cheirus. One hundred and thirteen Jews are slated to relocate to the US and have already been interviewed by the US Embassy in Sanaa. Between 130 and 150 Jews are expected to move to Eretz Yisroel.

Originally the operation was to remain secret based on fears among US officials that premature publicity could raise the ire of extremists in Yemen, but it was revealed to the media by Richard Wexler, chairman of the Jewish Agency’s North American Council, who attacked American Jewish leaders for cooperating with Satmar, which is considered anti-Zionist. Wexler claimed every effort should be made to have all the Jews settle in Israel. He said bringing Yemenite Jews to the US would be “a black chapter in history.”

Senior officials at the Jewish Agency expressed surprise and disappointment over the fundraising drive, especially the involvement of chairman Howard Riger, since it is the primary funding source for the Jewish Agency’s work to bring immigrants to Israel. “We adamantly oppose the immigration of Jews of any kind to the US, including the group of Jews from Yemen that will not be coming to the State of Israel. All Jews from all of the diaspora communities, including Yemenite Jews, belong in their homeland, Israel.”

In response UJC heads said Jews are being extricated from what can be described as a life-and-death situation. “We decided to assist with the immigration, resettlement and integration of Yemenite Jews whose lives are endangered due to the rise in the number of violent incidents against Jews in the country. We’re working closely with the Jewish Agency to encourage the Jews that remain in Yemen to immigrate to the State of Israel. However, we will work to guarantee the safety of those who chose to immigrate to the US.”

{Deiah veDibur/ Newscenter}


  1. Dear Online Voice of Torah Jewry:
    The attitude of Mr. Wexler and the “Jewish” (read Zionist) Agency shows again the truth of what is brought in Vayoel Moishe and Al Ha’geula… that rather than concern for the physical and spiritual welfare of Yidden – the Zionists see every “eis tzoro” as an opportunity to promote their State. Satmar is to be congratulated again for their work on behalf of all Yidden – and for their refusal to let the Taimonim be victimized again by the Zionist agency.

  2. The Yemenite kehilla would be happier amoung their own in Eretz Yisroel. There they have a shared language (arabic & hebrew) plus their customs and dress is accepted. Living in Monsey attending the yeshivas there will dilute their beautiful mesorah as they try to be absorb within a yiddish speaking kehilla.

  3. Why would any Yemenite Jew go to Israel after seeing the Jewish Agency representative go out of his way to endanger their lives by leaking the news of their departure from Yemen, knowing full well it might put them into peril — then calling up organizations and trying to stop funding from going to them?! It just shows how little care and concern the Jewish Agency has for their lives–and how much more the value is placed on ideology over human life.