A few days before the signing of the historical normalization of ties agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the UAE’s official news agency published the story of the rescue of the Yemeni Jews, which was expounded on by Kikar H’Shabbos on Sunday.
As YWN reported two weeks ago, the UAE, under the direction of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, facilitated the rescue of the members of a Jewish family from Yemen whose lives were in imminent danger.
The family arrived in Abu Dhabi, where they were reunited with their children and grandchildren after a separation of 15 years.
The details behind the story have now been revealed, including the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rav Berel Lazar, who was recruited to assist with the rescue effort, used his influence to request assistance from the UAE Crown Prince.
In recent years, as the situation of the few remaining Jews in Yemen has worsened, many efforts have been made to rescue them.
However, several families have refused to emigrate for various reasons, including the fact that some had elderly parents that refused to move. In some cases, Jewish organizations rescued the children without their parents to various countries throughout the world. Such was the case with the family reunited two weeks ago – the children had left Yemen 15 years earlier to various countries and over the years the siblings united in London.
The situation of the Jews in Yemen has grown more and more perilous over the years due to the Houthis, who have been taking control of parts of the country and have reportedly been persecuting the Jews.
Recently, it became clear to the family members in London that their parents’ lives in Yemen were in danger and they initiated efforts to rescue them with the assistance of senior Jewish activists worldwide.
Among other things, there was a need for a country that maintains relations with Yemen to sponsor the family members and even grant them entry visas. The United Arab Emirates agreed to carry this out, not only for the family members in Yemen but for their relatives in London as well.
Following the rescue, Raz Lazer wrote a thank you letter to the Crown Prince in Hebrew and Arabic: “In the name of the Jewish families from Yemen, we are honored to thank his honor on the humanitarian gesture and the so vital assistance that the prince provided by granting the entry visas to the Yemeni Jewish families in order to extricate them from Yemen to Abu Dhabi, thereby rescuing them from their life-endangering state, which has been their situation until now.”
“The United Arab Emirates is one of the most special countries on earth, a country with values, a country with tolerance, a country with generosity, a country that is all giving. Therefore, in the sense of good begetting good, it truly merits G-d’s blessing and Heaven’s blessings to such a great extent. There’s no doubt that this noble act of saving lives will, with the help of G-d, further raise the status of the UAE, bless the country, bless those who stand at its head, bless its inhabitants, and they will see blessing in all their deeds at every step…”
Rabbi Lazar also referred to the recent peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel: “During these days the whole world sees the hand of the United Arab Emirates reaching out for peace, in order to bring about unity between nations. The step taken by the United Arab Emirates is a great step of unity and peace. Certainly, other nations will follow her footsteps, but the merit of being the pioneers is reserved to her forever.”
Meanwhile, according to recent reports, the remaining Jews in Yemen are also seeking to immigrate to the United Arab Emirates.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)