The United Arab Emirates helped reunite two more Jewish Yemeni families who have been separated for 21 years, the Emirati WAM news outlet reported on Monday. The UAE helped reunite a first Jewish Yemeni family in August, shortly prior to the announcement of the Israel-UAE normalization deal.
The 15 family members of one family were reunited in Abu Dhabi on Sunday after the Emirati authorities facilitated the travel of family members from both Yemen and London.
Yitzchak Fayez, 35, told WAM that he hadn’t seen his grandparents and uncle since he was a child, when he immigrated from Yemen to London. Fayez and 11 family members flew in from London to meet Fayez’s grandfather, grandmother and uncle, who were flown in from Yemen.
“The last time I saw them was as a child,” he said. “They are meeting their great-grandchildren today for the first time. Today, the UAE made my family’s dream come true after we had lost hope of being reunited after 21 years of separation.”
Fayez’s mother, Losa Fayez, said that the reunion ended 21 years of suffering. The grandparents, Soliman and Sham’a Soliman, said that the joyous moment of the reunion will always be a cherished memory.
“I want to thank [the UAE] from the bottom of my heart,” Yisrael Ayez told WAM. “It’s a dream come true for all of my family, especially for my mum. She’s been waiting for this day every day for the past 21 years.”
The second family, the Salem family, were also reunited on Sunday after being parted for 15 years.
“Words cannot express how grateful we are to the UAE,” said Haron Salem, who was flown in from Yemen with his wife and two children to meet their relative who lives in Abu Dhabi. “We are very happy being here reunited with our family member. The UAE is truly the homeland of love, tolerance and peace.”
Rabbi Eli Abadie, who relocated to the UAE in November to serve as a rabbi to the Jewish community in Dubai, played a vital part in the families’ reunions.
Without elaborating on too many details of the operation in order not to endanger the remaining Jews in Yemen, Rabbi Abadie told Kikar H’Shabbos that the operation was more complex than merely flying Jews from Yemen to the UAE.
It all started when the London-based relatives of the Jews in Yemen turned to him for assistance and he, in turn, appealed to the relevant Emirati officials, whom he praised as “quickly jumping in to assist us. Within ten days of my request, the families were already reunited.”
“Thank you to the UAE for their humanitarian act,” Rabbi Abadie said in English, Arabic and Hebrew in in a video posted on Twitter. “As the senior Rabbi of the Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates, I thank the government of the Emirates for their great humanitarian deed in uniting two Jewish Yemeni families after 21 years. May G-d bless you.”
— WAM English (@WAMNEWS_ENG) January 11, 2021
The Kikar report noted that despite the fact that the security and economic situation in Yemen has greatly deteriorated in recent years due to the bloody civil war between the government authorities and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the Jews are still under the official protection of the Yemeni government.
However, all remaining Jews are stuck in the country, which has led to the separation of family members for decades. This is where the Emirati authorities stepped in – by bringing in the Jews from Yemen and their London-based relatives to the UAE for a long-awaited reunion.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)