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Yemen - Israeli Officials Angry at Agency for Bringing Yemeni Jews to Monsey, NY

Published on: May 23, 2009 10:02 PM
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Yemen - Officials in Israel and the Jewish Agency are angered at the coming move of more than 100 Yemenite Jews, almost half of the remaining community in that country, to the United States.

The American Jewish community umbrella organization, the UJC, is spearheading efforts to raise funds for the resettlement of 113 Yemenite Jews to haredi neighborhoods in Monsey, New York.

“Several recent events have led experts to believe that the Jews of Yemen must be evacuated as soon as possible,” the UJC’s leadership wrote to federation executives in a letter.
“Last December, a prominent Jewish teacher in Yemen was assassinated. Recently, the home of a prominent Jewish family was fire-bombed. In many ways, the small Yemenite Jewish community has experienced increasingly hostile relationships and intimidation from their Arab neighbors,” the letter said.

According to the UJC leaders, including Board of Trustees chair Joe Kanfer, Executive Committee chair Kathy Manning and president Howard Rieger, 113 Jews “have already been interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security, and are likely to be here in the next five weeks.”

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The resettlement is expected to cost some $2M., of which the UJC is raising some $800,000. The rest comes from the US government, which is the body officially bringing the Yemenite Jews, and local community contributions.

But not everyone is happy with the move.

“Clearly if you gave those $2 million to the Jewish Agency, they would do much more with that money in terms of improving their [the Yemenite Jews’] living conditions,” said an Israeli official who asked not to be named.
“It would be more than enough to bring the entire population [of 270] to Israel.”

According to a UJC official, the organization is carrying out the desires of the Yemenite Jews themselves, some of whom have been influenced by the anti-Zionist Satmar hassidic sect or see the US as a place they wish to live.

“We help Jews who are in need, anywhere,” said a UJC official. “Our understanding is that these Jews have chosen 100% of their own free will to go to America.
“Obviously we encourage Jews to go to Israel. We support many projects for Jews to do that, including the Jewish Agency itself. But we are fulfilling the wishes of the Jews on the ground in Yemen.”

Jewish Agency spokespeople officially deny there is disagreement between the two organizations, but off-record, many Agency officials, including senior ones, say they feel they have been one-upped by the sheer financial resources the Americans have brought to bear.

“The Americans say, ‘everyone should live where they want,’” said a Jewish Agency source who is close to the issue, “but the motivation for leaving [for the US] is not that they are under threat, but that they have a huge financial incentive to go. Maybe five percent of the Yemenite Jews are going to the US because of a clear decision to live among Satmar haredim in Monsey.”

According to the UJC, however, the bad feelings of some Israelis is not enough to stop the resettlement, which is being carried out by a broad “consortium” of American Jewish groups together with the US State Department.

“We can think of nothing more important than helping to shepherd terrorized Jews into freedom and then successfully reintegrating them into vital Jewish life,” the UJC leaders wrote in the letter to federations.

Jewish Agency spokesman Gil Litman denied there are significant tensions between the two organizations. “The Jewish Agency fundamentally believes that the ideal home for the Jews of Yemen is Israel, where there is a community of tens of thousands of Yemeni Jews. This is a view shared by our partners, including the UJC,” Litman said in a statement.

“Comments attributed to Jewish Agency sources are not accurate and do not reflect the official position of the organization,” the statement read.

 


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1

 May 23, 2009 at 09:59 PM Anonymous Says:

the Israel Agency wants to make them not religeous like they did 50 years ago

2

 May 23, 2009 at 09:54 PM charedi Says:

They could go and be shmad in Israel like their friends were in 1950 and recently again. The group that were just taken to Israel are being worked on by the zionist missionaries. The danger of Israel for these people is terrible.

3

 May 23, 2009 at 09:50 PM NYCESQ Says:

What a surprise, the Zionists are scared the Yemenites may stay religious if they dont go to Israel.

4

 May 23, 2009 at 09:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Boruch Hashem. Perhaps their children will not be stolen from them - this way. Remember what was done to the children of the Yeminite Jews many years ago.

5

 May 23, 2009 at 10:04 PM Anonymous Says:

The Isrealies should first give back the childern that they took away from these families 50 years ago.

6

 May 23, 2009 at 10:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Of course they don't want to go to israel where their kids will be mechallel shabbos & the govt will cut their payos

7

 May 23, 2009 at 09:26 PM motty Says:

This is not ujc its ujo who did for does people

8

 May 23, 2009 at 10:08 PM Dovid Says:

The Satmar Chasidim must remember not to let these people forget their beautiful Teimani minhagim when and if they actually come to Monsey.

9

 May 23, 2009 at 10:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

the Israel Agency wants to make them not religeous like they did 50 years ago

agreed 100%... Baruch Hashem for the Satmar!

10

 May 23, 2009 at 09:12 PM Milhouse Says:

And so it goes. We saw the same thing with the Russian Jews, with the Israeli government trying to persuade the USA not to allow them in, so they'd be forced to go to Israel, and putting pressure on HIAS and other Jewish charitable bodies not to assist Russian Jews who didn't want to go to Israel. They're the mirror image of Satmar. Satmar would rather the Jews stayed in Yemen than go to Israel, and the Israeli government would rather they stay in Yemen than go anywhere but Israel.

11

 May 23, 2009 at 10:13 PM Anonymous Says:

such a rash of stupid and ill-informed comments. yes, the israeli government did these terrible things in 1950. but get over yourselves- it's 2009, and the israeli government is decidedly less socialist and less anti-religion; most chiloni israelis (and mk's) do not want to destroy yiddishkeit, they just want to be left alone, and the greatest proof of that is that the rabidly anti-religious party, shinui, which just a few years ago held fifteen kenesset seats now holds zero. so these yemenites could very well come to ey and be perfectly able to continue their frum lifestyle, without any intervention or force otherwise; today, we have the shas party which could step in and set them up in the appropriate communities. do you honestly think that they have more of a chance of staying frum in the us? i doubt it; if anything, nowadays, they are much better off spiritually in ey.

12

 May 23, 2009 at 10:10 PM Bob Says:

Its great news,these Jews will stay religous.

13

 May 23, 2009 at 10:18 PM Charles Hall Says:

Reply to #8  
Dovid Says:

The Satmar Chasidim must remember not to let these people forget their beautiful Teimani minhagim when and if they actually come to Monsey.

Indeed!

Speaking of that, there is a Teimani shul in Manhattan. Why shouldn't the families move there? That way it would be easier to keep their religious traditions, much more so than in a community dominated by Ashkenazim.

14

 May 23, 2009 at 10:18 PM na nach Says:

monsey doesn't belong to satmar, and why should they not go there? does Israel really still care about satmar? wow

15

 May 23, 2009 at 10:17 PM NK Says:

Reply to #10  
Milhouse Says:

And so it goes. We saw the same thing with the Russian Jews, with the Israeli government trying to persuade the USA not to allow them in, so they'd be forced to go to Israel, and putting pressure on HIAS and other Jewish charitable bodies not to assist Russian Jews who didn't want to go to Israel. They're the mirror image of Satmar. Satmar would rather the Jews stayed in Yemen than go to Israel, and the Israeli government would rather they stay in Yemen than go anywhere but Israel.

Satmar wants them to come to the US. They never tried to persuade them to stay in Yemen when they thought it was better for themselves to leave. Of course, there is no reason to persuade them to leave when they are happy there. But when it is becoming too dangerous for them there they help them come to the US.

16

 May 23, 2009 at 11:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Charles Hall Says:

Indeed!

Speaking of that, there is a Teimani shul in Manhattan. Why shouldn't the families move there? That way it would be easier to keep their religious traditions, much more so than in a community dominated by Ashkenazim.

In Monsey there's a big beautiful Taimoni community with its leading Rabbi Shimshon Chatucha, this kehila is flourishing and very close and helpful to each other.
Thanks to the Almighty that the Israelis couldn't put their hands on those precious soles, and the UJC helped the Yemenite Jews get where the Yemenites choosed themselves".

17

 May 23, 2009 at 11:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Charles Hall Says:

Indeed!

Speaking of that, there is a Teimani shul in Manhattan. Why shouldn't the families move there? That way it would be easier to keep their religious traditions, much more so than in a community dominated by Ashkenazim.

Why not isreal? their community thrives even stronger there.

18

 May 23, 2009 at 11:05 PM Anonymous Says:

They will be a big failure in monsey, they are not welcomed in any mosdos and won't be able to marry of their children easily, they will be very uncomfortable to keep their dress code in the USA, however isreal tolerates everything and they can continue their derech only in isreal, open your eyes isreal is much better now they are not under the pressure they had in the 50's acutely they are the biggest supporters for thorah in our times

19

 May 23, 2009 at 10:48 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #15  
NK Says:

Satmar wants them to come to the US. They never tried to persuade them to stay in Yemen when they thought it was better for themselves to leave. Of course, there is no reason to persuade them to leave when they are happy there. But when it is becoming too dangerous for them there they help them come to the US.

And if they say they want to go to Israel, will Satmar help them anyway, or will they try to prevent it?

20

 May 23, 2009 at 10:40 PM Michoel Says:

Actually, in terms of Yiddishkeit, Sholom Bayis, and Gashmius, the Teimonim would be much better of going to EY.

With few exceptions, Monsey and Monroe have been a disaster for the Teimonim who have already come here. This is obvious to anyone familiar with their situation. If you don't believe me, go to Albert Drive and speak to them yourself. Ask about how many families have left for EY or tried to leave for EY, how poor those who remain are, how they have no future, have no marketable skills, aren't taught English, and how isolated and unhappy the women are.

In EY, their dark skin does not single them out for contempt and can lead normal lives, including having freedom of movement to be with relatives.

In EY, they have more of a chance to be productive human beings and more of a chance to be religious.

21

 May 23, 2009 at 10:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Charles Hall Says:

Indeed!

Speaking of that, there is a Teimani shul in Manhattan. Why shouldn't the families move there? That way it would be easier to keep their religious traditions, much more so than in a community dominated by Ashkenazim.

And there is a large group in Monsey as well as a support organization. Why should they move to Manhattan.

22

 May 23, 2009 at 11:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

In Monsey there's a big beautiful Taimoni community with its leading Rabbi Shimshon Chatucha, this kehila is flourishing and very close and helpful to each other.
Thanks to the Almighty that the Israelis couldn't put their hands on those precious soles, and the UJC helped the Yemenite Jews get where the Yemenites choosed themselves".

#16 sounds like he's reading the Satmar fund raising script.
Take a guess: How big is the beautiful Teimani community in Monsey? How many families?

23

 May 23, 2009 at 11:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Why do we need them to wear hat's and jackets their nightgowns are the real le'vush for centreis only EY can they wear them openly

24

 May 23, 2009 at 11:35 PM Rebe Yid Says:

If Isreal is so gung ho about these Jews, why didnt they rescue them? This operation is Hatzolas Nefashos and should be viewed in a positive light. Why are we always quick to critisize? The comment about the yemenite shiduch crisis is so unbeleivably idiotic. Yes, they may have a hard time adjusting, but at least they are alive to do so. Yashar Koach on your efforts Chazak vematz.

25

 May 23, 2009 at 11:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

In Monsey there's a big beautiful Taimoni community with its leading Rabbi Shimshon Chatucha, this kehila is flourishing and very close and helpful to each other.
Thanks to the Almighty that the Israelis couldn't put their hands on those precious soles, and the UJC helped the Yemenite Jews get where the Yemenites choosed themselves".

You still think isreal needs to put their hand on people there rushens and polaks waiting in line to get into isreal, they don't need to chapt people anymore

26

 May 24, 2009 at 02:45 AM Anonymous Says:

i feel bad for every one of these people. just imagine what its like leaving your country with such deep roots n minhagim, and coming to america, where they're looked at so awkwardly, by children and adults alike.

27

 May 24, 2009 at 02:04 AM Anonymous Says:

This have noting with UJC that's Y they are going to monsy not to kirys joel

28

 May 24, 2009 at 01:26 AM Josh Says:

Reply to #7  
motty Says:

This is not ujc its ujo who did for does people

It's not a difference who did it Don't mix in politics !

29

 May 24, 2009 at 01:06 AM History Says:

History tells us that Medinas Yisroel had the whole Teimana Kehila Upgeshmadt RL why should we risk them ? And forget about Shas and the other Kenest members they don't give a hood they only care about themselves Go SATMAR Go Rabbi Yolish ZTZL knew exactly what he is talking

30

 May 24, 2009 at 12:42 AM We're all suffering Says:

More HUD, WIC, Medicaid, and Welfare for Jewish tax money to go pay. If you want to give tzeddakah, give it to the poor living there already. Why bring more poor people to town to tax the rich further?

31

 May 24, 2009 at 12:26 AM Anonymous Says:

The mishpacha magazine had an interview recently with a teimani that was rescued from yemen a couple of months ago by the israely govt. Firstly, they had promised to keep quiet about the whole operation but as soon as this yid walked off the plane he was bombarded with news reporters from every single israeli radio station. This not only endangered his own life but it jeopardized all the efforts to save the rest of the yemenite jewry. So much about the israely govt's concern about the wellbeing of these poor jews. Secondly, he was promised a house in a chareidi neiborhood where his brother lives but at the time of the interview which was a good couple of weeks after his arrival all his cries and requests have been ignored. So far he was bitterly complaining about his poor abilities to keep his innocent children away from bad influence. He was fighting to keep the basics and to keep his children away from all those around them that were suPposed to help them get accustomed to the new country. Wake up people. True were living in 2009 but the motives of the govt for bringing these people to EY is not to save them. It is to get them to throw away their beautiful heritage. And to all you satmar haters, this interview was printed in the mishpacha, not in der yid.

32

 May 24, 2009 at 12:12 AM glatekup Says:

Reply to #20  
Michoel Says:

Actually, in terms of Yiddishkeit, Sholom Bayis, and Gashmius, the Teimonim would be much better of going to EY.

With few exceptions, Monsey and Monroe have been a disaster for the Teimonim who have already come here. This is obvious to anyone familiar with their situation. If you don't believe me, go to Albert Drive and speak to them yourself. Ask about how many families have left for EY or tried to leave for EY, how poor those who remain are, how they have no future, have no marketable skills, aren't taught English, and how isolated and unhappy the women are.

In EY, their dark skin does not single them out for contempt and can lead normal lives, including having freedom of movement to be with relatives.

In EY, they have more of a chance to be productive human beings and more of a chance to be religious.

I know a few families in lakewood that came to the usa with the help and support of satmar. They are for the most not supportive of satmar and they feel like they were used by satmar. I am not saying that satmar did not do a great thing by helping them resettle here but satmar needs to understand that the taimanim's natural place is not in the confines of satmar. They do not feel comfortable there. Just because they have zeigalach(lange payos)that does not mean that they are chassidish. They are a breed of there own and much closer to a litvishe upbringing than chassidish. As a matter of fact some of the taimanim that I have spoken to feel like they were used for shidduchim for the satmar kehillas meesed up families and teens. Generally, because the lifestyles are so different, they should be marrying their own and if they have a problem finding a shidduch, then they should marry into certain sefardim who are closer to them. The taimanim who live in lakewood are living their own life and we love them here. We do not take advantage of minorities.

33

 May 23, 2009 at 11:58 PM Avrohom Abba Says:

I am glad that so many are going to Monsey. Why? Because I still remember those famous movies of Jewish Yemenites standing on line in Israel when they got off the plane and one by one, they cut their payos off.

34

 May 23, 2009 at 11:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Michoel Says:

Actually, in terms of Yiddishkeit, Sholom Bayis, and Gashmius, the Teimonim would be much better of going to EY.

With few exceptions, Monsey and Monroe have been a disaster for the Teimonim who have already come here. This is obvious to anyone familiar with their situation. If you don't believe me, go to Albert Drive and speak to them yourself. Ask about how many families have left for EY or tried to leave for EY, how poor those who remain are, how they have no future, have no marketable skills, aren't taught English, and how isolated and unhappy the women are.

In EY, their dark skin does not single them out for contempt and can lead normal lives, including having freedom of movement to be with relatives.

In EY, they have more of a chance to be productive human beings and more of a chance to be religious.

You are 100% right, In E.Y. they have a much better chance to earn a living than
here, Over there a lot of them have farms which is not possible here.

35

 May 24, 2009 at 05:51 AM Sorry Satmar! Says:

There are plenty of very frum traditional Yeminite Jews in Israel and plenty of those that left their Yemenite traditions and became unfortunately frey here in Holy New York.
I must be seeing things!!

36

 May 24, 2009 at 06:46 AM Anonymous Says:

The Yemenites that live here in Monsey look Chasidish. They have lost all their personal Minhagim. It has always seemed heartbreaking to me. Also, I assume Shiduchim would be difficult for them if they are being forced to live in a Satmar world. Bottom line, they should be fine with the Taimani community in Israel. I know frum Taimanim there, Rabbanim, etc. They will be taken in by those and encouraged to continue their Minhagim. It is not their Minhag to wear Shaitels. It is not their Minhag to dress the way they are forced to do here. Their kids are completely Chasidishized which is fine for Chasidim, but not for them. I saw the signs a couple of months ago all over Monsey and I hoped that they would find a way to get to Israel where they will be better off. The atrocities of the past are in the past. There are many Frum Taimanim in Israel now to help them. The Satmar community is doing a big disservice to them by squeezing their entire identity out of them.

37

 May 24, 2009 at 11:51 AM Daniel Says:

Wow,....they look arab to me.

38

 May 24, 2009 at 12:05 PM Anonymous Says:

do a google search on yemenite jews in satmar and your toe nails will curl

39

 May 24, 2009 at 01:27 PM NW YID Says:

Baruch Hashem, 100 Jews have been rescued from persecution. It matters not where they are in the world as long as they are safe. We will all be in Eretz Yisrael soon, so temporary location is a moot discussion. Minhag is also a moot point, as all minhagim will cease to separate us in the time of Moshiach Ben David. Are we really silly enough to believe that we will all continue to follow separate minhagim and diaspora customs when the Jewish people are united??? Silly.... We will return to be one people, one language, one custom.... All diaspora-isms... will fade away... Baruch Hashem that are Temani brethren are safe. May the remaining Temanim be rescued Bemhera Beyamanu, Ken Yehi Ratzon Venomar Amen.

40

 May 24, 2009 at 02:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
Sorry Satmar! Says:

There are plenty of very frum traditional Yeminite Jews in Israel and plenty of those that left their Yemenite traditions and became unfortunately frey here in Holy New York.
I must be seeing things!!

True there are some still religious in EY, however what percentage of those who went to EY are still religious and what percentage of those who went to Monsey and London are still from with their traditional (and no, they have nothing to do with satmar except that satmar are AMONG THOSE who helped them)

41

 May 24, 2009 at 04:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Many of the ways of the Taimanim are more closely like those of the times of the Beis Hamikdash than any other group. Did you know that when a Taimani Jew reads from the Torah, any other Jew can be Yotzai because their way is so pure. In terms of all the Minhagim not meaning anything in times of Moshiach, that may be true, but in the meantime, last I checked each of us is pretty Makpid on our Minhagim. I don't know why they need to dress and act like the Chasidim that help them? Why can't we bring them here and encourage them to keep their own Minhagim?

42

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