The real truth about peaceful coexistence in Yemen

The leader of Yemen, Imam Ahmad, showed friendliness to the Jewish citizens. He did not try to prevent them from emigrating from his country. On the contrary, the Imam once issued the following proclamation to the Jews of Yemen:

“May the Almighty fulfill all your wishes and needs, and bring you safely to your destination. But at the same time I want to let you know that whoever of you wants to stay in Yemen may stay, and rest assured that he will lack nothing. Also those who have already emigrated may come back anytime, and I assure all of you that nothing bad will happen to any of them. They can even have back their houses and property. But everyone is free to do as his heart desires.” (Churban Yahadus Teiman pp. 124-125)

The Yemenite Jewish historian Nissim Binyamin Gamlieli describes the way the leaders of the Kabilim sect asked the rabbis in Yemen, “Why are you leaving our land? What are you lacking here? Who is bothering you here in Yemen? Why are you leaving a land where you lived for so many hundreds of years, to go to a foreign state, where irreligious people are in power? You will see that you will regret your decision later! In the land where you are going, you will meet up with a people who have cast off from themselves the authority of the Creator. Your children will go off the religious path and you will have no control over them! Better stay here in Yemen. Here you will live peacefully, you will be able to support your families and serve your Creator unhindered.”

The Yemenite sheikhs turned to the Jewish leaders with a dramatic plea, “Remember, Jewish brothers of Yemen, that we have lived together for hundreds of years in peace and friendship. We never did anything bad to you. Remember that, and if, G-d forbid, there should be a war between Jews and Arabs, don’t turn your weapons on us! We are not your enemies!”

But the excitement of the Yemenite Jews and their longing to be redeemed and come to the Holy Land was too strong, and they paid no attention to the words of their Arab neighbors. The Zionists had convinced them that the redemption had arrived, and they did not want to miss it. (ibid. pp. 126-127)

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