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Yemeni Jewish family reunited

12 Aug 2020

(c) Emirates News Agency

A Yemeni-Jewish family was reunited in the United Arab Emirates after 15 years of separation, according to Emirates News Agency (WAM). According to the report cited in The Jerusalem Post, UAE officials facilitated travel for family members from Yemen to the UAE and arranged for other family members living in London to join them.  

“It was nothing short of a miracle and the realization of an impossible dream,” the family said in a statement quoted in The Times of Israel, adding, “[w]e thank the UAE for their great support in arranging the reunion. This is an example of the UAE’s humanitarian approach, as well as of its noble values of tolerance and coexistence.”

“The happiness of this family is something all of us can understand and share,” said Jewish Council of the Emirates President Ross Kriel. He added, “[W]e are thrilled that the charitable efforts of the UAE, which are based on a concept of universal human dignity, have met with success and are becoming known to a broader global audience.”

Video released by WAM showed the family reuniting and embracing at the airport. “We never imagined we would reunite after all the long, grim years. I feel everything is fine now. We lived alone in exile, without family and siblings... I was lost,” said one family member. 

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan tweeted a link to the report, adding the words, in Arabic: “[t]he homeland of coexistence.”

Most of Yemen’s Jews left the country by the 1960s, but those remaining began to face increased levels of discrimination by the turn of the aughts, coinciding with the establishment of the separatist Houthi movement in the newly-reunited Republic of Yemen. 

As the domestic situation in Yemen deteriorated following the fall of President Ali Abdullah Saleh during the Arab Spring of 2011, the situation of the Jewish minority became even more precarious, prompting several dozen to emigrate to various countries around the world in the subsequent years. 

As of 2020, there are less than 50 Jews remaining in Yemen, spread out among the district of Kharif, the capital of Sana’a, and the port city of Aden.