Thirteen of Yemen’s nineteen remaining Jews, among them Rabbi Yahya Youssef Musa Marhabi, recently left the country, apparently forced out by the Iran-backed Houthi militia. As recently as 2010, Marhabi insisted that he would stay in his homeland rather than leave for Israel. Lyn Julius observes:
The thirteen . . . have arrived in Egypt where they will find no more Jews than now remain in Yemen. The group refused an offer to go to Israel by way of the port city of Aden. . . . Some people are exasperated with the Yemeni Jews’ obstinacy, for it is not as if they did not have multiple opportunities to leave.
The scholar S.D. Goitein once described Yemen’s Jews as the most Arab and Jewish of Jews. Rabbi Yahya has insisted that he is Arab before he is Jewish. He has bent over backward to show his willingness to integrate into Muslim Yemen. He has tried to fight for Jews to have seats in parliament, said that Jewish children should go to Muslim schools, and even said he believed in Mohammad as much as Moses.
There is a name for this kind of behavior: Stockholm syndrome. . . . Beleaguered Jews in Arab or Muslim countries have long expressed their hostility to Israel and loyalty to their countries of birth. Where has it got them in the long run? A one-way ticket out of the country. There are no communities left in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, or Algeria. In Iraq, a Jew died recently, bringing the number down to three.
It is heartening that countries like the United Arab Emirates and Morocco have chosen a different path, “normalizing” with Israel and encouraging the growth of local Jewish communities. But where are the expressions of consternation, where are the protests, the petitions, the governments and NGOs calling out those Muslim countries that have ethnically cleansed their Jews? The silence is deafening.