Yemenite Jewry’s Final Chapter

Jan. 27 2015

One of the oldest Jewish communities in the diaspora, having survived successive waves of persecution, mostly departed for Israel following its independence in 1948. But several dozen Jews still remain. Now that Iranian-backed rebels have seized control of the country under the motto “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam!,” these holdouts, too, are making plans to leave. Tom Finn and Tik Root write (2013):

Most of the twenty or so [Jewish] families that remain . . . live behind the walls of a government compound for expats near the U.S. embassy in Sana‘a [the Yemenite capital]. . . . The elders never leave. Now and again the younger men venture out to sell jewelry at a nearby market.

Reels of razor wire, soldiers, and German shepherds make the entrance look like a prison. Inside it is quiet and leafy. With a playground, two ATMs, a restaurant, pharmacy, and a bus to shuttle them around the compound, it has the sleepy feel of a retirement community in Florida.

The Jews, who raise goats and chickens on plots of land next to the homes of Russian oil barons and aid workers, rarely leave the compound. Instead they rely on a monthly stipend for food and rent provided by the government.

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Read more at Time

More about: Aliyah, Anti-Semitism, Jewish World, Mizrahi Jewry, Yemen, Yemenite Jewry

 

What Israel Can Offer Africa

Last week, the Israeli analyst Yechiel Leiter addressed a group of scholars and diplomats gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss security issues facing the Horn of Africa. Herewith, some excerpts from his speech:

Since the advent of Zionism and the birth of modern Israel, there has been a strong ideological connection between Israel and the African continent. . . . For decades, [however], the notion that the absence of peace in the Middle East was due the absence of Palestinian statehood prevented a full and strategic partnership with African countries. . . . The visits to Africa by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in 2016 to East Africa and in 2017 to West Africa—reenergized the natural partnership that was initiated by Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir in the 1960s.

There is much we share, many places where our interests converge. And I don’t mean another military base in Djibouti. . . . One such area involves the safety of waterways in and around the Red Sea. Curtailing contraband, drugs, arms smuggling, and other forms of serious corruption are all vital for us. . . . But the one critical area of cooperation I’d like to put the spotlight on is in the realm of food security, or rather food insecurity.

Imagine Ethiopia’s cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the two or three that they produce today. Imagine an exponential rise in (organic) meat exports to Middle Eastern and even European countries, the result of increased processing, storage, and transportation possibilities. Cows today can have a microscopic chip behind their ears that sends messages to the farmer’s computer or mobile phone that tracks what the cow ate, what its temperature is, and what care it might need. Imagine a dramatic expansion of the wheat yield that can make Ethiopia a net exporter of wheat—to Egypt, perhaps in the context of negotiations over the waters of the Nile.

Israel has proven technology in all of these agricultural areas and we’re here; we’re neighbors. We are linked to Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, in so many ways.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology