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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Yemeni Jews

But didn’t know to ask

by
Marc Tracy
January 07, 2010

Yemen: a nation turns its worried eyes to you. And where there is some random country we previously did not care about, there are also, as we know, a fledgling group of final remaining Jews. The Forward does yeoman’s work summing up their story:

the Jews in Yemen brush off the hatred of those sermons with nonchalance and an air of aloof exemption, as though the hatred applies only to foreign Jews, not to Yemenis. Most Muslim Yemenis have never met a Jew, and so they are excited and amazed to learn that indigenous Jews still live in Yemen, speaking the same dialect as Muslims.

Having been kicked out of their villages by Shiite radicals, most Yemeni Jews reside in Sana’a, the capital, under the surprisingly benevolent protection of the government—and have no plans to leave. “If we leave the country,” one Yemeni Jew told Yediot Ahronoth, “we will not be allowed to take our possessions—everything will be confiscated. I don’t know how we will survive. I have relatives in Israel and in the U.S., and they always ask me to join them, but for now we are getting by. We have a steady income and a house.” The final remaining Jews of Yemen will remain the final remaining Jews of Yemen.

Related: Jewspotting [Slate]

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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