Yemen’s Millennia-Long Connection to the Land of Israel

Jan. 30 2020

While it has often been assumed that the queen of Sheba mentioned in the book of Kings was an African potentate, today most scholars locate her territory in what is now Yemen. Her famous visit to Jerusalem reflects the very long history of commerce and travel between the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Land of Israel. Reviewing an exhibit at Israel’s Bible Lands Museum about this relationship, Eliana Rudee writes:

Through the trade of incense and aromatic plants like myrrh and frankincense—used in Temple worship, and worth the value of gold and silver in the contemporary market—the area that is now Yemen became a key hub in ancient Near Eastern trade.

This trade route [later] made it possible for Yemenite Jews to make the journey to the land of Israel. Though the trek was 1,500 miles, which often took two whole months to complete, there was extensive commercial trade between the two lands, and the bones of Yemenite Jews were often taken to Israel to be buried.

By the end of the 4th century CE, the kings of Himyar (south Arabia’s last major kingdom before the advent of Islam) adopted a monotheistic religion inspired by Judaism and became known as the “Jewish Kingdom of Himyar.” [It] was destroyed in 525 CE by armies from the Christian Ethiopian kingdom of Axum.

Read more at JNS

More about: Book of Kings, King Solomon, Land of Israel, Yemen, Yemenite Jewry

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada