UN report describes ‘systematic’ persecution of Yemen’s Jews

Oppression of Jews has intensified in Houthi-controlled areas; only seven remain.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

A United Nations report documenting the persecution of Yemen’s religious minorities cited “systematic” persecution of Jews in Houthi-controlled areas.

The 300-page report, which was sent to the UN Security Council, was first reported by Jewish Insider.

According to the report, “[m]ost of Jewish population left Yemen after several years of persecution, which started under former President Ali Abdullah Saleh but intensified under the Houthis.”

The report noted that only seven Jews are known to remain in Yemen, and that one of them, Levi Marhabi is held captive by the Houthis. Marhabi was arrested in 2016 while trying to help a Jewish family smuggle an 800-year-old deerskin Torah scroll to Israel.

The Houthis claim the Torah is a national treasure.

Marhabi was arrested for helping a Jewish family rescue a very rare 800-year-old deerskin Torah scroll out of the war-torn country that arrived in Israel in 2016 together with 17 Yemeni Jews who were welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and photographed together with the ancient scroll.

That picture enraged the Houthi rebels. They arrested Marhabi, who was reportedly tortured and suffered a stroke while imprisoned under harsh conditions.

The first Jews are believed to have settled in Yemen 42 years before the Babylonians destroyed the First Jewish Temple.

Read  'Gross affront to Holocaust victims and survivors': US envoy blasts Abbas

The UN report also criticized the Houthis for persecuting Christian and Bahai communities and recruiting thousands of children soldiers.

Describing a Houthi summer camp, the report said, “Children were expected to regularly shout the Houthi slogan ‘Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam.'”