11 Feb Final Chapter in One of the World’s Oldest Jewish Communities
Although the vast majority of the ancient Jewish community of Yemen was airlifted to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet in 1948-49, a small remnant remained in the country. In succeeding years, that remnant came under constantly deteriorating personal security conditions. A small emigration was allowed to continue sporadically until 1962, when a civil war in Yemen put an abrupt halt at that time to any further Jewish exodus.
Through a secret mission, 10 Yemeni Jews immigrated to Israel on February 19, 2009, and in July 2009 three families, 16 people in total, followed suit. Further trickles of immigration of Jews to Israel were carried out in covert operations in succeeding years.
Nineteen of the last remaining Jews in Yemen were airlifted to Israel on March 21, 2016, by the Jewish Agency for Israel. The secret operation, which rescued all but 50 Yemeni Jews, had been in planning for over a year and included coordination with the US State Department. Manny Dahari, a Yemeni Jew who had come to the US as a young boy, had lobbied for years with Israeli and American authorities to bring about the release of the remaining Jews, including members of his own family.
Thus, a chapter in the history of one of the world’s oldest Jewish diaspora communities was brought to an end.