WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has secretly brought about 60 Yemenite Jews to the United States since July, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Another 100 are likely to come to the United States in the coming month, the newspaper said on the weekend.
Approximately 350 Jews were living in Yemen before the operation, according to the report. Yemen was once home to about 50,000 Jews in the early 1950s, but most emigrated to Israel.
In addition to the Yemenite Jews who will come to the United States, about 120 want to move to Israel and as many as 30 wish to stay in Yemen. Some of the Jews who want to leave are having difficulty selling off their homes and other assets.
The immigrants to the United States are being resettled in Monsey, N.Y., which has a large concentration of Jews from Yemen, by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Jewish Federations of North America pledged $750,000 toward their resettlement.
The State Department had to pressure the Yemenite government to issue the emigres exit permits and passports. The Yemenite government had preferred to move the Jews to a safe haven in the capital, the Journal reported. Several families missed the two flights offered to them by the United States, the Journal reported.
The evacuation followed a year in which the Jewish community was subjected to increasing harassment and violence. In December 2008, a Yemenite Jew was killed by a Muslim man who ordered Jews to convert or be killed. The killer was sentenced to death.
Ha’aretz reported that 16 Yemenite Jews arrived in Israel on Sunday afternoon in a secret immigration operation orchestrated by the Jewish Agency.
– With files from Ha’aretz