Gunned down. nMoshe Yaish Nahari (Archives)

Yemeni rabbi: Jewish community threatened

Following last week's murder of Moshe Yaish Nahari, local rabbi says Muslim extremists still harassing Jews in town of Raydah, authorities 'ignoring complaints'

Muslim extremists in this northern Yemeni town are still harassing the small Jewish community after one of its members was gunned down last week, a local rabbi said on Sunday.


Rabbi Yahia Yaish bin Yahia said he felt alienated in his own village after a Jewish teacher was gunned down Thursday by a suspected Muslim extremist.


"Raydah is no longer like the old days," he told The Associated Press outside his home in the village some 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of the capital San'a. "Raydah today is full of monsters."


Bin Yahia is one of the roughly 400 remaining Jews still living in Yemen, mostly in Raydah.


Yemen was once home to about 50,000 Jews in the early 1950s, but most emigrated to Israel.


Yemen's Jews are thought to be descended from Roman-era Jewish merchants from Persia and Mesopotamia who traded in the south Arabian region. They have always been isolated from major Jewish centers, huddled in clusters scattered across the mountains of northern Yemen.


Jews for the most part have long found Muslim Yemenis tolerant and lived in harmony with their neighbors.


Bin Yahia, however, said Yemeni authorities have ignored complaints from the Jewish villagers about these death threats from their neighbors and described rising hostilities against the Jewish community in the village.


'Argument over sorcery'

He said people had thrown stones at his windows and Jews walking in the streets have been threatened.


"Some have even raised their guns to our chests and necks, to our women's and children's necks," he said.


Moshe Yaish Nahari, a teacher at the village yeshiva, was gunned down on Thursday.


Deputy head of security for the province, Ahmed Yahia al-Srihi, said a suspect has been arrested and arraigned before a prosecutor.


Al-Srihi said the suspect has a criminal record and had killed his wife, and he described him as having "extremist tendencies."


According to the official investigation, seen by the AP, the man confessed to killing Nahari as a way to get "close to God."


Bin Yahia said he will not bury Nahari until the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agrees to meet with him and community representatives.


"We will ask the president to guarantee our safety, to remove us to a new area so we can live in peace," bin Yahia said.


Al-Srihi said bin Yahia and a local Muslim were involved in "sorcery," which had led to an argument between the two. He said the Muslim will be called in for questioning.


פרסום ראשון: 12.14.08, 18:59
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