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Yemenite Jews Make Aliyah to Israel - February 19, 2009

On February 19, 2009, ten Jews from Yemen arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport as a part of a secret rescue and aliyah operation by the Jewish Agency for Israel. The rescue operation followed a sequence of events in Yemen that suggested a rising anti-Semitism in the country. Until the rescue operation, there were 280 Jews living in Yemen: about 230 in the city of Rida and 50 in the capital of Sanaa, who moved there after their homes in Saada came under attack by Al Qaeda terrorists.

Among the new immigrants were Sayid Ben Israel, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Rida, his wife, and their seven children. Several weeks prior to making aliyah, the Ben Israel family moved to Sanaa after anti-Semitic extremists threw a grenade into the courtyard of their home. In Israel, the family was placed in Beit Shemesh and received the full range of JAFI support services provided to new immigrants.

Other new immigrants who arrive during the operation will be placed in the Yeelim Absorption Center in Beersheva, where they will also receive absorption assistance.

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