Another solemn chapter has closed on Yemen’s dwindling indigenous Jewish community.

Yihye Ben-Yosef, one of the very last Jews still residing in the war-torn nation, reportedly passed away last week in the Arhab region at an unknown age.

Ben-Yosef had stubbornly refused to leave his home even as the Iranian-backed Houthis solidified their brutal grip on power. Local non-Jewish Yemenis carried out burial rites for the lonely Jewish elder in Arhab after his passing, according to Arutz Sheva.

Yemen’s Jewish population once flourished for over 2,500 years under a series of ruling Islamic dynasties despite being subjected to systemic discrimination and oppression.

However, waves of antisemitic violence and economic warfare started drove out large numbers, with Yemeni Jews fleeing in major exoduses to British Palestine in 1949 and Israel in the 1950s after the Jewish state’s establishment. By the early 1990s, only a few hundred Jews allegedly remained.

A fateful 2011 civil war culminated in the rise of the violently antisemitic Houthi movement and its 2014 seizure of the capital. Under Houthi rule, Yemen’s last Jewish traaces have endured constant threats, economic strangulation and indiscriminate attacks. In 2021, the Houthis forcibly expelled the last 13 Jewish residents from the small town of Sana’a.

If indeed Ben-Yosef was Yemen’s last remaining Jew, it extinguishes a candle first lit millennia before the Islamic caliphate laid foot into the country.

    Hadassa June 30, 2024 8:55 pm


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