To my knowledge, on Monday I was the first to write in English about reports that the few remaining Jews in Kharif, Yemen were being imprisoned and being forced to sign over their property to the Shiite Houthi group with the intention of expelling them.
The news reached Israel and the media and government has questioned whether it was true.
The report has yet to be confirmed by any official source, leaving questions about the report’s validity. The fate of the Jews in Yemen if the report is true is uncertain.
When asked by The Jerusalem Post about the matter, Israel's Foreign Ministry said it had been queried about the report many times and it appears to be false.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder responded to the reports, saying, “Though the horrific reports we are reading about the persecution of Yemeni Jews are unconfirmed, the international community has a responsibility to investigate the situation and to protect this vulnerable population.”
There appears to be at least partial confirmation from Asharq al-Awsat, a news outlet with a pretty good reputation. it reports:
With tears in their eyes, a Jewish Yemeni left Yemen this week and arrived in one of the Arab capitals, following the instructions of the Houthi militia, which gave the head of the family a choice between staying in prison or leaving his hometown in Amran Governorate (north of Sanaa). The presence of the Jewish community there is nearing its disappearance from this region that has historically represented one of the most important centers of their presence in Yemen.
Asharq Al-Awsat traced the journey of suffering incurred by the Saeed Al-Na’ati family since the beginning of this year, as he was harassed, abused and pursued, before he was imprisoned for more than a month and then told to either leave the Houthi militia-controlled areas, or to remain in prison.
The Jewish community currently does not exceed 33 persons of both sexes. Only five of them live in the Kharif area of Amran governorate and the Arhab district of Sana'a governorate, as the Houthi gunmen intentionally harass the residents of the new market area in Amran governorate, which was a mostly Jewish area before the emergence of the Houthis, who compel them to emigrate and buy their homes and properties cheaply so that there is no presence of the followers of the Jewish religion in their areas.
Last May, the Houthi militia arrested a Jew named Youssef and also imprisoned Sa`id al-Na`ti. After a month and a half of prison as his family pleaded with tribal elders, al-Na`ti was released after he signed an pledge to sell his house and leave the country. This month, the group allowed him to sell some of his belongings and household items, while his mother and three daughters left for the city of Aden before they reached one of the Arab capitals in search of a new homeland.
Members of the sect told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that Al-A’ati had been forced with his family to leave while they were crying, and they did not want to leave their country. One of them said: “There is nothing left in Imran except for an old woman who takes care of her brother who lost his mind, while there are three others in the district of Arhab.”
The sources talked about how the family told the Houthis that they might be prevented from passing through the checkpoints scattered along the road leading to the temporary capital of Aden, but the Houthis answered them, saying, "Travel, and nothing should concern you. We will give you a pass at all points, and the most important thing is that you leave."
Until before the Houthis invaded Amran Governorate, the "New Market" area was like a closed neighborhood, most of whom were Jews who worked in iron workshops, carpentry and car repair,where they coexisted with the Arab population. With the emergence of the sectarian organization of the Houthis in the governorate of Saada in mid-2004, systematic targeting of Jews began, and Yemen saw the first wave of forced internal displacement of the followers of this religion, according to one of its members.
He added: “When the Houthis stormed the Al Salem area they sent a written warning to the Jews to leave the province; the attacks and targeting continued, and the number of these people dwindled from more than five thousand to today it is slightly more than 30 people, most of whom reside in a city owned by the Ministry of Defense near the American embassy in Sana'a.”
This appears to be an accurate account of at least one family of at least 5 people – perhaps 15% of the remaining Jews in Yemen.