Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Some Thoughts About Yemenite Jews Coming Home

I was reading an article today about a group of Yemenite Jews who just recently arrived in Israel. They were offered the alternatives of conversion or death. From recent events in that country, death was a real possibility. If the haters of Israel wanted to prove that there is no need for a Jewish state, the most logical thing to do would be to allow Jews to live in their countries undisturbed. We are not dealing with any logical phenomenon. The pretense of a generation ago to liking Jews and disliking the state of Israel is wearing very thin. Even the limited dhimmi protection is not being honoured today.

As happy as I was to know about the recent arrival of Yemenite Jews in Israel, I was very upset that the rescue was publicised. There are still Jews in Yemen. Who is helping them in and who is trying to hurt them? Did they escape or were they assisted by friends in the government of Yemen? I do not want to know the answers. I do not want any harm to come to Muslims who may have assisted the Yemenite Jews, whether they did it out of altruism or out of a mercenary motive. I do not feel I have a right to know the answers to these questions. It is more important that Jews living under threat of harm be effectively assisted. When every last Jew is out of Yemen or out of danger, then we can listen to stories. until then, it is far better that rescues be effective than that they be well publicised.

The Yemenite Jews have beautiful traditions and knowledge of Torah. When they arrive, they should be treated with deference not only for their Torah knowledge but for their stubborn adherence to our faith. This has not always been the case in the history of the State of Israel. The treatment of immigrants from Arab countries has in the past been disgraceful. Jews from Arab countries are irreplaceable tiles in the Mosaic mosaic.

The Jewish claim to the Holy Land is like a bank note torn in half. When Jews from Europe and Jews from the East stand together in loving unity, it is like taping the bill and bringing it to the bank to be redeemed. Ashkenazim can not claim the Holy Land alone. Jews from Arab countries can not claim it alone. We need to claim it together.
We once camped in the desert together. We stood together at Sinai together. We were scattered all around the world . And we still recognise each other as brothers and sisters. That is amazing. Love is contagious. When you see a loving couple or a loving family, you want to recreate their happiness in your own family or in your own relationships. Imagine the power of a nation in harmony.

It is wonderful that such a diverse people as the Jews comes to the rescue of its own. There are secular Jews, Zionist Jews and Hasidim along with Jews from around the globe who rejoice in the rescue of long lost relatives quite unlike them. After thousands of years, a nation known for its diverse opinions remains connected.

I am very grateful for the rescue of my Yemenite brothers and sisters. But I would like to know as little as possible until all are out of danger. Please . Please understand this. Thank you. And may G-d strengthen and protect all who are engaged in rescue activities.

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