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The Satmar Hasidic Sect and the Exodus of Yemeni Jews

 
Filed under: World Jewry
Publication: Jewish Political Studies Review

Jewish Political Studies Review
Volume 32, Numbers 1–2

This study will address the role of the Satmar Hasidic sect, which possesses neither sovereignty nor military capability, in trying to influence the policies of sovereign governments, such as the Yemeni government, regarding the status and future of the Jews in that country, and the Israeli government regarding the immigration and absorption of Yemeni Jews in Israel. Satmar activity in Yemen began in the late 1970s when the first Hasidim arrived there and worked among the Jewish community under the auspices of the radical Islamic government, a situation that continued until the civil war broke out in 2015. We will examine how the Satmar sect, which was the main factor influencing the future of Yemeni Jews in the 1970s, has struggled since the 1990s against the Israeli government’s efforts on behalf of the immigration and absorption of Yemeni Jews in Israel. Amid this struggle, Israel acted with humanitarian determination to ensure the safety and security of the immigrants and their families.

Keywords: Satmar, Zionism, Yemen, sovereign state, nongovernmental organization

Introduction

As an anti-Zionist organization, the Satmar Hasidic sect has marched under the banner of the unity of God and the Creation. According to the sect’s beliefs, everything comes from the heavens and is done for the heavens’ sake. The establishment of the state of Israel constituted a heresy against that precept. To hasten the redemption by setting up a secular, independent, sovereign framework is to delay the coming of the Messiah.1 Hence the Zionist enterprise must be fought, and one way to do so is to prevent the immigration of Jews from countries in distress to Israel. Because Satmar regarded the Jews of Yemen as authentic traditional Jews, it was necessary to preserve Jewish life in Yemen and work for these Jews’ immigration and absorption in Satmar communities.

The rise of the state of Israel fundamentally altered the relations that had prevailed between Jews and Muslims. When the Zionist dimension entered this relationship in some of the Islamic countries, the Muslims’ attitude toward the Jews underwent a fundamental change. In several countries, the government’s treatment of the Jews worsened. They were denied the right to emigrate to Israel, and their social rights deteriorated. Israel, which the Arab states viewed as an enemy state, was unable to act on their behalf. However, Jewish bodies such as Satmar managed to work on the Jews’ behalf in these countries. For example, Satmar Hasidim were active in Yemen for decades in the sphere of religious and communal needs.2 These efforts were accepted and even welcomed by the Yemeni leaders, who saw a commonality of interests with Satmar. As Satmar worked to achieve its Jewish goals in Yemen, the Yemeni government viewed its endeavors as instrumental to its political objectives domestically and in its foreign relations.

The test case in this study is the cooperative relationship between Satmar and the Yemeni government in acting on behalf of the Yemeni Jews in the 1970s and the 1990s, as compared to the activity of the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency, and organizations that were part of the lobby for Yemeni Jewry.3 I will also consider to what extent Satmar’s negative attitude toward the state of Israel helped them extract Jews from Yemen and absorb them into the United States and Britain, notwithstanding Israel’s struggle to bring the surviving remnant of Yemeni Jews to the Jewish state.

This study will address the role and influence of a religious organization in the international political arena compared to the capability and influence of a sovereign state, Israel. The Satmar organization, which enjoys neither sovereignty of any kind nor a military capability, has tried to influence the policy of the Yemeni government regarding the status and future of the Jews in that country. Satmar’s activity in Yemen began at the end of the 1970s, when the first Hasidim came to Yemen and worked among the Jewish community there under the auspices of the radical Islamic government and continued until the civil war broke out in 2015.

Hence this study aims to assess the extent of Satmar’s influence as a religious entity in the Jewish and Israeli political arena. It will examine how Satmar, which is defined as a nongovernmental political entity, operated in Yemen and Israel and influenced the policies of these sovereign governments regarding the fate of the Yemeni Jews,4 and to what extent and how this nongovernmental organization has exploited the situation and status of the Yemeni Jews since their immigration to Israel in the 1990s.

This study is based on studies of the Yemeni Jews’ immigration to Israel and material presenting the Satmar ideology’s central tenets. In that regard, the sources are the writings of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum as well as considerations of his outlook and its place in the Jewish world. This study will also make use of primary sources such as archives. The archive of the Immigration and Absorption Committee of the Israeli Knesset, the private archive of Mr. Shlomo Jarfi, and interviews will add an essential component to the study, and it will also make use of journalistic accounts as a source of information about the Yemeni Jews and their immigration to Israel and the United States.

Literature Survey

The activity and influence of the Satmar sect will be considered from a unique political perspective in light of the uniqueness of this phenomenon in the global political arena. This study will examine the relationship between religion and politics in the international arena. This research field is problematic from both a theoretical and empirical standpoint. Studies in this field have addressed the relationship between religion and politics in the intrastate arena,5 while studies on the relationship between religion and politics have focused on the tension between those two phenomena, which has contributed to the emergence of conflicts in the global political arena.6

In their studies, Sandler and Fox addressed from a theoretical standpoint the negative influence of this relationship on the global political system.7 This study, however, will offer a different perspective on the relationship between religion and politics. It will consider the modes of cooperation between Jews who represented the Satmar sect and Muslims who represented the Yemeni government. This cooperation was conducted on a hierarchical basis; it was clear that both the Yemeni Jews and the Satmar representatives in Yemen were subordinate to the Islamic government.8 As we will see, this state of affairs enabled the Satmar Hasidism to operate in Yemen from the end of the 1970s.

The activity and influence of Satmar will be considered within the theoretical framework of world politics, taking the neoliberal approach to international relations research. This theoretical approach will make it possible to examine the relevant religious and political activity within the framework of transnational relations9 that go beyond the borders of the sovereign states of Yemen and Israel.10 Using this approach, one can study and analyze the activity of nongovernmental entities in the global political arena in a context that is not military-existential. The analysis of Satmar’s activity and influence will focus on the domain of sociopolitical activity. That is, the work will scrutinize Satmar’s activity on issues on the social, religious, and political agenda.11

An analysis of the activity of religious entities as autonomous actors in the global political arena was already conducted in the 1970s in a study of the Catholic Church’s influence as an autonomous actor in that arena.12 This actor’s activity is characterized by the extent of its ability to create worldwide communication networks that transcend sovereign borders and to generate a politics that goes beyond states, governments, and parliaments.13 Discussion of additional cases only underlined the need to consider the functioning and influence of autonomous actors representing religious groups in the global political arena.14

Accordingly, Satmar is defined as an autonomous actor in the global political arena that has unique goals and exerts influence in this arena. Hence Satmar’s activity will be discussed in a social-humanitarian context that is influenced by the definition of this actor as a religious entity.15 Satmar indeed worked to provide material and spiritual assistance to the Yemeni Jews both within and outside of Yemen, but this activity was complex. Satmar operated on the Yemeni Jews’ behalf in the framework of its cooperation with the Yemeni government to achieve the fundamental goals of its faith and ideology; it thereby also engaged in its ongoing struggle against the Zionist entity, which is the state of Israel.

An actor’s role and influence in the political arena are a consequence of the resources at its disposal and its ability to use them. This theoretical approach also helps us assess the influence of nongovernmental entities, specifically in a sphere of activity that is defined in its social, not military-belligerent, context.16 Hence we will examine Satmar’s role, activity, and influence as a nongovernmental entity in the political arena in light of its resources and capabilities to achieve its objectives in that arena with regard to the status and future of Yemeni Jewry.

For the Israeli government, the 1970s and the 1990s saw a struggle to enable the mass immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union. During this period, the Israeli government also worked to effectuate immigration from Ethiopia and Yemen. The campaign for the immigration of Yemeni Jewry was beset with difficulties created by Satmar Hasidim, who did not shrink from any means to make such problems. Their objective was to ensure continued Jewish life in Yemen and to prevent the Yemeni Jews from emigrating to Israel, the United States, or Britain while also counteracting the Israeli government’s immigration policy among the Yemeni Jews who had already come to Israel to cause them to emigrate to the Satmar communities in the Diaspora.

This unique influence of Satmar will be analyzed within two periods during which Satmar’s activity affected the status of the Jews in Yemen. The first period will encompass Satmar’s activity in Yemen from the end of the 1970s to Yemen’s reunification in the 1990s, which operated almost exclusively. In the second period, since Yemen’s unification, Satmar operated simultaneously with some significant state actors, namely, Israel and the U.S. administration, as well as nongovernmental organizations that were active in this domain, forcing Satmar to redouble its efforts vis-à-vis the Yemeni government. This period saw an intensification of the struggle between Satmar and Israel over the future of Yemeni Jewry, as Israel strove to prevent Satmar from harming the immigrants and their families in Israel and the United States.

The Satmar Hasidic Sect: Ideology and Policy

Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum was not only the founder of the Satmar Hasidic sect,17 but also the person who shaped its unique nature as a group that struggled against Zionism and the continued existence of the state of Israel.18 The sources of this anti-Zionist ideology, which advocated national segregation19 as taught by Rabbi Teitelbaum, lie in traditional notions about the Jewish people continuing to live in the Diaspora and in the fight against the Zionist phenomenon as a secular movement.20 In Rabbi Teitelbaum’s view, the Zionist movement violated all the principles of the ongoing Jewish life in the Diaspora, hastening the Jewish people’s political redemption and ingathering in the Land of Israel to establish a sovereign state there in defiance of the decrees found in the sources.21

In his book Vayoel Moshe (1960), Rabbi Teitelbaum sets forth his anti-Zionist position and the way of life that all his Hasidim must adopt, stressing the oneness of God on the one hand, and a negative attitude toward the Land of Israel and the state of Israel, as a heretical state, on the other.22 This book was written during a time of significant changes in the global and the Jewish political arena.23 The stance it took toward Zionism and Israel was a kind of guide for the perplexed among the Satmar sect. The purpose of the book was to direct criticism at Jewish Orthodoxy. Rabbi Teitelbaum led a struggle, based on ideology and faith, against moderate centrist Orthodoxy. An extreme anti-Zionist worldview permeated this criticism regarding both the Zionist endeavor and the continued existence of Israel.24 Rabbi Teitelbaum maintained that no changes must be made, either retrospectively or from the start, on the question of the Jewish people’s continued existence in the Diaspora, developing this position in the book’s three parts: “The Three Oaths,” “Settlement of the Land,” and “The Holy Tongue.” As he wrote: “And why do they say the times have changed, and one must act accordingly; the way of the Torah has not changed.”25

According to Rabbi Teitelbaum, the rectitude of the Jewish people’s existence lies in its faith-based, universal religious mission, in faith in the oneness of God and the oneness of the Creation.26 The Jewish people’s vocation is to manifest the reality of God in this world by keeping the Torah and the mitzvot. The import of this idea is that everything comes from the heavens, and everything is done for the sake of the heavens. God’s rule determines everything, and humanity cannot determine its own fate; thus, the Zionist movement and its activity deny God’s existence,27 with human beings seeking to determine the fate of the Jewish people instead of God. The redemption of the people of Israel will be a miraculous redemption and will come in its own time. The Zionist redemption is a human, non-miraculous, earthly political activity that entails a blatant rebellion against God’s oneness and existence. Thus, it constitutes a denial of God’s existence, a form of idol worship that delays the redemption.28

From this standpoint, the Zionist movement and its supporters are impure idol worshippers whose deeds deny the existence of God.29 Rabbi Teitelbaum asserts that Zionism is the gravest sin in the history of humanity.30 He calls for political passivity and opposition to all the collective immigrations to Israel; the act of immigrating to Israel entails a clear-cut defiance of the will of God as manifested in the Talmudic tractate Ketubot.31 In this tractate, Rabbi Zeira (3rd-4th centuries CE) posits three oaths for the Israelites living in the Diaspora, concerning the status of the Jewish people in the Diaspora, their relations with non-Jews, and their remaining in the Diaspora (they must not rebel against the kingdoms, must not hasten the end, and must not emigrate en masse to the Land of Israel). The people of Israel are obligated to recognize the rule of the nations, not to emigrate to the Land of Israel, and not to create a heretical reality of redemption.32 Any act that leads to a violation of these oaths is a repudiation of the worship of God. Thus, the Jewish people are commanded to adopt a policy of passivity in these regards.33 The act of immigrating to the Land of Israel under the prevailing conditions is irrelevant and bears no relation to any of the mitzvot of settling the land; instead, it is an act of Satan.34

The Zionist enterprise and the establishment of the state of Israel constitute an antithesis and an act of heresy against faith and the oneness of God. Because the Zionist ideology fundamentally contravenes God’s existence, the Zionist-nationalist dimension has no existence in this world. Creating a national entity based on immigrations to Israel and building colonies and settlements flies in the face of the messianic idea and entails the ongoing destruction of both the heavenly and the earthly Jerusalem.35 It is, therefore, a sacrilege against the miraculous redemption of the Jewish people, and such activity delays the coming of the Messiah.36

Immigrating to the Land of Israel, then, involves no mitzvah of settling the land, something the people were obligated to do when they ascended to the land from Egypt. In the current era, immigration to the land is a negative phenomenon that could create conditions hindering and preventing the arrival of the Messiah.37 Hence one must do all in one’s power to halt such immigration on the one hand, and work to strengthen continued Jewish life in the Diaspora, including the Jewish communities in Islamic countries, on the other.38 Therefore, Rabbi Teitelbaum claims that in those countries, one should strive to cooperate with the government to facilitate ongoing Jewish life and enable the Jews to keep observing the Torah and the mitzvot. This entails recognizing the Jews’ status as wards in these countries without detracting from the sovereignty and authority of the Islamic state.39

As a religious, nongovernmental entity, Satmar has operated in the political arena and exploited its political strengths in its relations with Yemen’s Islamic government. To promote its ideological goals regarding the Jews of Yemen, it has also exploited the absence of diplomatic ties between the two political entities, Yemen and Israel. Moreover, the fact that Satmar has addressed a social issue in the global political system, one that does not constitute a threat to Yemen’s existential-material objectives, has helped Satmar achieve its goals. This activity will be explained below within the research perspective offered by the constructivist approach in international relations studies, an approach that emphasizes social issues in the global political system.

Satmar’s Activity in Yemen in the 1970s and 1980s

The Jews’ emigration from Yemen, which began in Operation Magic Carpet in 1949, continued at different intervals and numbers until 1962, when Yemen’s civil war broke out.40 By the late 1970s, the working assumption of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency was that there were no more Jews in Yemen because this diaspora had already been eliminated by the early 1960s. During the Zionist Congress of 1977, Yaakov Tzur, chairman of the Public Council for the Jews of Arab Countries, declared that there were no Jews in Yemen. However, beginning in the 1960s,41 Jews in Israel continued to demand that the Israeli government keep working for the immigration of the surviving remnant in Yemen—particularly in North Yemen, known formally as the Yemen Arab Republic.42 However, when the Satmar sect became aware in the late 1970s that there were indeed still Jews in Yemen, they began to act on their behalf. The Israeli government’s lack of activity in this regard created a vacuum that Satmar exploited.

Satmar’s activity in providing aid to Jews in the Diaspora was conducted in line with Rabbi Teitelbaum’s outlook and began in the 1950s during the large-scale immigration from Morocco. When Rabbi Teitelbaum saw that they had been spiritually corrupted and damaged by the Zionists and decided to work for their spiritual rescue,4344he preached to his Hasidim, in lessons and speeches, about the need to establish organizations to rescue Jews in distress. Rabbi Teitelbaum himself founded the Rav Tov institution. Its purpose is to aid Jewish communities in the Diaspora in general and in Islamic countries such as Tunisia, Syria, Iran, and Yemen.45

In the case in question, the Satmar Hasidim exploited Satmar’s status as a nongovernmental entity wielding influence in the socioeconomic sphere. They forged a network of international ties that would enable them to operate undisturbed within a Muslim country such as Yemen, and that included their links with PLO activists in New York.46 Furthermore, from the standpoint of the Yemeni government, Satmar’s opposition to Israel’s existence was sufficient reason to allow its representatives to work with the Jewish communities in various Yemeni towns and villages. During this period, major Satmar activists came to Yemen, alongside other activists from Neturei Karta who joined them and accepted the authority and anti-Zionist stance of Rabbi Teitelbaum in this regard.47 Among the prominent activists who came to Yemen were emissaries from New York on behalf of the Committee for the Rescue of the Yemeni Jews—Rabbi Hirsch Issachar, Rabbi Noah Klein, Rabbi Yitzhak Chaim Friend, and the most crucial activist, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Bachar. A Neturei Karta member, his activity impacted the Yemeni Jews both in this period of the late 1970s and during the 1980s and during the 1990s after Yemen’s unification.48

The Satmar Hasidim claim that their activities in countries hostile to Israel were not conducted mainly to defy Israel but to rescue Jews.49

However, the efforts of Satmar Hasidism cannot be understood apart from the ideological-religious and theoretical background. The struggle between Satmar and the state of Israel was genuine, and about the Yemeni Jews, it was extreme. The negative attitude toward Israel comported well with the policy of North Yemen at that time, as articulated by its president Ali Abdullah Saleh,50 who viewed Israel as an imperialist country that had expelled the Palestinians from their land. Satmar’s intensifying anti-Israeli rhetoric opened a door for them to negotiations with PLO representatives in New York, who arranged visas to Yemen for Satmar activists.51

As noted, the chief emissary to Yemen was Rabbi Bachar, whose political stance toward Israel dovetailed with the policy of the PLO and the Yemeni government. They viewed him as sharing their hostility to Israel’s existence; from an operative standpoint, that hostility would take the form of preventing Jews from emigrating to it. Accordingly, Rabbi Bachar’s sociopolitical agenda included working to sustain Jewish life in Yemen and to ensure that Yemeni Jews did not leave for Israel.52 During this period, the North Yemeni government regarded the Satmar Hasidim as a positive element. Their socioreligious activity among the Jews did not pose any danger to this Islamic regime; both the Yemeni Jews and the Satmar Hasidim encouraged continued Jewish life in Yemen with the status of wards of the state.53

The efforts of the Satmar Hasidim in the 1980s raised questions about the nature and intentions of their activity among the Yemeni Jews. Rabbi Bachar and his companions indeed offered spiritual and material assistance, providing the Yemeni Jews with religious objects and books and funding the establishment of Talmud Torah schools.5455 Along with the religious items, the Satmar Hasidim gave the Yemeni Jews pamphlets that incited against Israel and denounced its existence.56 At this time, the Hasidim were the only Jewish activists in Yemen and the Yemeni Jews’ only link to the broader Jewish world. They tried to work with the authorities to improve the Yemeni Jews’ situation both materially and spiritually. The close ties between the Satmar Hasidim and the PLO representatives in New York were crucial to making this activity possible.

Where Satmar Failed Yemen’s Jews

However, no obstacles were placed before Satmar’s activity in Yemen in the cultural and humanitarian realm. They operated there as if within their own kingdom, and this situation allowed them to apply Rabbi Teitelbaum’s doctrine to the Yemeni Jews. Although some claim that these Hasidim fulfilled Rabbi Teitelbaum’s legacy—preventing Jewish immigration to Israel—their efforts in both the spiritual and physical domains were deficient. They did not work to rehabilitate the Yemeni Jewish society and did not provide for the needs of the elderly Jews, widows, children, or, particularly, orphans.57 In addition, Rabbi Bachar strove to turn the Yemeni Jews into his followers. He recruited the heads of influential families by furnishing financial assistance for their own needs and those of the communities under their patronage.58

Overall, however, these efforts did not score outstanding achievements because they mainly involved supplying religious items and prayer books and not much beyond that. Most of the activity focused on the central anti-Zionist objective of preventing emigration to Israel. To that end, the Hasidim continued to engage in anti-Israeli orations while providing false information about what was happening in Israel.59 This persisted even when the Yemini Jews’ situation worsened in the wake of the expulsion of the PLO forces from Lebanon after the First Lebanon War in 1982.60 Some of these expellees went to live near Jewish neighborhoods in the vicinity of Sana’a, the capital, and Sa’dah in the north. As revenge for their defeat in the war against Israel, they attacked the Jews physically and took over their property and synagogues. As a socioreligious body, Satmar was unable to bring about a change in this situation. The change came from a different source, namely, the Yemeni government, which feared that Yemen would undergo what Lebanon had undergone in the civil war there.61

Seemingly, the situation of the Jews should have improved dramatically in this period as the Satmar Hasidim worked untrammeled among them. The Satmar sect in the United States is considered very wealthy.62Yet nothing was done that could have improved the Yemeni Jews’ quality of life, which could also have fostered an improvement in the spiritual domain. The Satmar Hasidim waged this campaign mainly out of a desire to implement the doctrine of Rabbi Teitelbaum, ensuring that the Yemeni Jews would remain in Yemen and thus continue to preserve their conservative, traditional Jewish way of life.

At this stage, the Satmar Hasidim could pursue this course exclusively thanks to the state of the relations between the two parts of Yemen, the nature of the Islamic regime, and North Yemen’s relationship with the United States. In the 1990s, however, several changes forced the Satmar Hasidim to revise their modus vivendi.

Satmar’s Activity since the 1990s

Toward the end of the 1980s, the Satmar sect as a socioreligious entity encountered challenges that hampered its activity in North Yemen. These challenges were systemic and political, primarily concerned with Yemen’s relations with the United States and Israel’s activity on this issue during the 1990s. However, the substantial and direct threat to Satmar’s continued efforts was the formation of the International Coalition for the Revival of the Jews of Yemen (ICROJOY).63 It set itself the goal of improving the situation of the Yemeni Jews both materially and spiritually and extracting them from Yemen, and bringing them to Israel. This American Jewish organization received legal recognition in the United States. It was established in December 1988 by Jews from Yemen with U.S. citizenship. Its members had connections in Congress and in the U.S. administration, including ties with Senators Alfonse D’Amato, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Robert Graham, Congressmen Benjamin Gilman, Mel Levine, and James Scheuer, and, in the administration, with State Department officials such as Richard Schifter, the assistant secretary of state for human rights.64

ICROJOY’s efforts bore fruit. Its activists began working in North Yemen to change the government’s official policy toward the Jews there and to influence the policy on the emigration of the Yemeni Jews, whose number was then estimated at 1,500.65 Hence, the closer the relations between Yemen and the United States became, the more ICROJOY’s activity and influence in Yemen increased. Its foremost activists, such as Haim Tawil, Pierre Goloubinoff, Shlomo Jarfi,66 Lester Samarka, and Saadia Shapiro, forged good ties with the North Yemeni political leadership. While visiting Yemen in September 1989 and January 1990, they met with North Yemeni foreign minister Abdul Karim al-Iriani.67 To the chagrin of the Satmar Hasidim, meetings in Yemen and the United States helped the organization change the government’s policy toward the Jews. The ongoing diplomatic activity of the United States and Yemen forced the Satmar Hasidim to alter their approach radically.

The relations between the two states developed gradually in the 1980s. In 1989 the Americans began to work intensively to improve these ties. The U.S. interest was to enhance its status in this geographical arena in general. During the 1980s, the United States supplied Yemen with aircraft, trained its army officers, and sent technicians from Taiwan to maintain and operate the military equipment. In the economic sphere, it helped by transferring tons of food. In the agricultural domain, it helped develop broad swaths of previously uncultivated land.68 North Yemen’s difficult economic situation meant it had to take a significant step that would strengthen its ties with the United States—while the United States, for its part, undertook to extend its PL-480 (Food for Peace) aid program to North Yemen. The aid policy was conditioned on an improvement in the situation of the Yemeni Jews.69

In January 1990, President Ali Abdullah Saleh visited the United States, and the two sides discussed several issues involved in their relations. The status of the Yemeni Jews was one of the items on the agenda. In meetings Saleh held with President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker, the Americans demanded answers about the human rights of the Jews in North Yemen.70 These meetings had an impact on North Yemen’s policy toward the Jews. Satmar Hasidim and Neturei Karta activists, fearing a change in the existing policy, issued an announcement in the Washington Post in which they praised Saleh’s visit to the United States and expressed gratitude for the religious freedom enjoyed by the Jewish citizens of the republic. They aimed to praise the president and ask him to continue the existing policy.71

Thus, Satmar faced a new political situation. So far, it had operated in Yemen exclusively and with the encouragement of PLO members in Yemen. This Jewish-Muslim cooperation was based on a commonality of interests in opposing the state of Israel. At this stage, however, Satmar, as a socioreligious entity, had difficulty functioning and influencing decisions that were made in the interstate sphere. This difficulty would only grow, and Satmar decided to act on three levels: to urge the U.S. administration not to change its human rights policy regarding the North Yemeni Jews, to bring about a change in the Yemeni government’s new policy, and to strive within Yemen, both within and outside the Jewish community, for the continuation of Yemeni Jewish life in Yemen and in the Hasidic communities in the United States and Britain.

The unification of the two parts of Yemen in May 1990,72 alongside unified Yemen’s support for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, negatively affected Yemen’s economy. Adding to the hardship was the expulsion of about a million laborers and their families from Saudi Arabia.73 The need for economic assistance forced the Yemeni government to appeal to the U.S. administration. The administration conditioned the aid on easing the human rights situation of the Yemeni Jews.74 This marked a significant shift in Yemen’s policy. In an interview he gave in October of that year, the Yemeni president announced that the Jews would be able to leave Yemen as tourists.75 This became policy when, late in June 1991, the Yemeni government officially and legally ratified allowing the Jews to depart from Yemeni territory as tourists.76 The Satmar Hasidim, aware of this negative process from their standpoint, tried to bring about a cancellation of this decision, which the Yemeni government had made in order to mollify the U.S. administration. At this stage, the Hasidim sought to change minds within the U.S. political domain.

In July, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada (also known as the Agudas Harabbanim) sent a letter to the U.S. president imploring him to prevent the Jews’ emigration from Yemen. They asserted that the administration had been misled by ICROJOY’s claim that the Yemeni Jews’ human rights were being violated. Yemen was a country exemplifying the fact that Jews and Muslims could live together in peace and tranquility and enjoy the freedom inherent in equal rights, just as in the United States. The rabbinical union asked President Bush not to let ICROJOY exploit him to achieve its goals.77

Relative to their minuscule number in the U.S. population, the Satmar Hasidim exert great sociopolitical influence. Satmar is known to be a wealthy group. Its members include moguls of American society who wield significant political and economic power within American Jewry and among the politicians in New York and Washington. Yaakov Israel Friend, who was one of the founders of the Committee for the Rescue of the Yemeni Jews and lives in the town of Monroe, New York, was close to the administration and President Bush, in particular. He used these connections to promote Satmar’s activity in Yemen and try to bring about a change in the new Yemeni policy.78

After years of hesitancy and vacillation, the Israeli government adopted an active policy of rescuing the Yemeni Jews. In 1990, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir ordered the establishment of a governmental committee headed by Avigdor Kahalani, a distinguished general, that would work for the Yemeni Jews’ immigration to Israel.7980 This change in Israel’s policy intensified U.S. pressure on the Yemeni government to make a fundamental decision to grant exit permits to all the Yemeni Jews who wanted one. The Yemeni government feared that these Jews would emigrate to Israel in accordance with Israel’s Law of Return.81 They did not want to make a decision that would contradict the policy formulated in the Arab League institutions on the emigration of Jews from Muslim countries; the concern was that Jewish emigration to Israel would increase the number of soldiers in the IDF.82

Nevertheless, amid its worsening economic situation, Yemen wanted to demonstrate political openness in its relations with Western countries, particularly with the United States. Therefore, in 1992 and 1993, it permitted the Jews to leave, and many of them went to Israel.83 In response to criticism in the media and by various elements in the Arab world, the Yemeni president asserted that the Jews had equal rights just as in Syria, which also permitted its Jews to unite with their families in the United States and South America.84 At this stage, the Satmar Hasidim kept trying—including efforts within Yemen itself—to change this decision. Rabbi Bachar met with the Yemeni foreign minister and other high-ranking officials and demanded that they immediately halt the Jewish emigration,8586pthat they were allowing

the Jews to leave for the Zionist state. The Hasidim likewise appealed to high-ranking Arab officials in the Yemeni government to prevent the emigration of the Jews, who were likely to lose their religious faith in Israel.87 In addition, they engaged in propaganda activity, publicly exposing the clandestine efforts to enable Jews leaving Yemen to come to Israel.88 Based on the information publicized by the Satmar Hasidim, the Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat conducted an investigation of the Yemeni Jews’ emigration to Israel with the aim of putting a halt to it.89 The paper lauded the Satmar Hasidim and the Neturei Karta activists in Yemen for their efforts to ensure that the Jews remained in Yemen.

The Satmar Hasidim also decided to step up their efforts to convince the Jews themselves not to emigrate to Israel. As noted, the Satmar Hasidim had already worked hard in this regard during the first period, but now that the policy had changed, they did so with redoubled energy. When Rabbi Bachar realized what the new situation meant, he demanded that the Yemeni government allow him and his companions to send young Jews for studies in Britain and the United States so that afterward, they would return and become the mainstays of the Yemeni Jewish community, thereby staving off the phenomenon of emigration to Israel.90

The Satmar Hasidim also engaged in anti-Zionist propaganda among the Yemeni Jews. They claimed that in Israel, people were not given food and died of hunger, children were kidnapped, and people were subjected to proselytization. They asked their activists in Israel to contact Jews in Yemen and tell them how difficult life was in Israel. Specifically, they requested that they send the Yemeni Jews letters that would fill them with animosity toward Israel.9192In the course of the year, the Satmarincreasingly denounced Israel to the Yemeni Jews as a country of heretics, and Yemen’s chief rabbi Yosef Yihiye said the same, enjoining the Yemeni Jews not to go there because “in Israel, daughters rebel against their fathers, and we fear for our daughters. I will not be able to accept the fact that my daughter will come to me one day and say to me that she wants to marry her boyfriend. This is forbidden in our religion.”93

The Yemeni Jews’ immigration to the United States gave a boost to the Satmar Hasidim not only ideologically but also from an economic standpoint. The Yemeni Jews were granted the status of refugees.94 That entailed federal funding for their absorption in the United States, which flowed into the hands of the Satmar Hasidim, as well as support funds for students from the federal government, as claimed by Member of Knesset Ehud Rassabi and Uri Gordon, chairman of the Immigration and Absorption Department of the Jewish Agency.9596

Likewise, Moshe Nahum, president of the Sephardi Federation of Yemenite Jews,97 claimed that the situation of the Yemeni Jews was exploited, just as the organizations for the emigration of the Ethiopian Jews exploited their situation to conduct fundraising campaigns among American Jews. Satmar Hasidim gave the families bimonthly subsistence funds to ensure they would not emigrate to Israel. “The Satmar Hasidim are raising a lot of money from radical Jews and Haredim by claiming that there are 30,000 poor and unfortunate Jews in Yemen who need assistance. It appears to me that they are receiving millions of dollars for them, and clearly, only part of the sums go to Yemeni Jews while the rest remains with them.”98 This money was meant to help Satmar with its ongoing anti-Zionist ideological struggle.

Although in the early 21st century, the number of Jews in Yemen declined, the Satmar Hasidim’s anti-Zionist activity did not change. Joseph Tobi maintains that Satmar’s campaign in recent years, and particularly during the civil war, was already irrelevant because the Jewish population had shrunk.99 Instead, the primary campaign has been waged among Yemeni Jewish immigrants in Israel and the United States. Satmar Hasidim encourage immigrant families in the former country to leave for the latter country. They particularly pressure families whose sons are already in the United States, some of them, as noted, against their will.100 The education of the young generation in the United States is aimed at pressuring parents still in Yemen to tie their fate to the Satmar Hasidism and leave for the United States. This has caused great suffering to the families, some of which were geographically and ideologically divided. While the parents were in Yemen or Israel, their children were held hostage under restrictive conditions in Satmar educational institutions in the United States so that their parents would not emigrate to Israel or would leave it. The parents feared extracting their children from the expensive private schools lest they be left without a learning institution.101 Some parents wanted to emigrate to Israel but were forced to move to the United States instead. When they arrived there, their passports were confiscated.102, 103

Satmar’s ongoing activities in Yemen were not stopped by the Yemeni government because there was an understanding to that effect, rooted in the positive relations that had already emerged between these actors in the 1980s. Satmar, as a socioreligious entity, exercised influence in this international arena because of its common interests with the Yemeni government regarding the status of the country’s Jews. But when the conditions and the global political circumstances changed, including an improved relationship between the sovereign states of Yemen and the United States, Satmar had difficulty operating and continuing to influence Jewish life in Yemen. Satmar Hasidim tried to act on three levels: within the U.S. administration, the political establishment in Yemen, and among the Jews in Yemen and Israel. But they did not achieve great success. Their religious-ideological mission was not fulfilled in this period, particularly when a state actor such as Israel prevented them from implementing their ideology.

Conclusion

The Satmar Hasidic sect exploited the social dimension of the international system to apply its anti-Zionist ideology to the case in question, which concerned the status of the Yemeni Jews. They did so in the framework of negotiations with both the U.S. administration and the Yemeni government. However, after the Yemeni Jews began emigrating to Israel in the early 1990s, the Satmar Hasidim had difficulty influencing the direction of their migration. Hence, they began to employ harsh measures toward them, particularly toward the families that were divided between immigrants in Israel and immigrants in the United States.

Satmar’s activity during the 1980s and 1990s was surveyed. In the 1980s, Satmar operated exclusively among the Jews in Yemen. This effort was conducted in cooperation and with the assent of the Yemeni government, which saw it as an admirable endeavor whose whole purpose was to prevent emigration to Israel—at which Satmar succeeded in this period. However, beginning in the 1990s, amid the systemic and regional changes in the wake of the Gulf War, the United States and Yemen drew closer. U.S. aid to Yemen was conditioned on the extent to which its government would alter its conduct in the human rights domain. Improving conditions in this regard opened the gates of emigration from Yemen, a situation that made it difficult for Satmar to function there. Satmar Hasidim, who had close ties with the U.S. administration and the Yemeni government, adopted the practice of bargaining and negotiating to change the policy. During this period, such activity was made possible by the fact that Satmar operated in the socioreligious realm and hence was not hampered by the state entities, which allowed it to act in that realm. The new civil war in Yemen affected the status and the number of Jews in the country. This, in turn, weakened Satmar’s involvement among the Yemeni Jews. In this regard, it now focused mainly on trying to get the Yemeni Jewish immigrants in Israel to leave Israel for the United States and Britain. This struggle did not succeed, as the Jewish Agency, the Israeli government, and the lobby for Yemeni Jewry have worked to bring Yemeni Jews to Israel from the 1990s to the present.

* * *

Notes

1 M. Keren-Kratz, ‘The Haredi Community in Jerusalem and Its Attitude toward the State of Israel, 1948-1973,’ Katedra Vol. 61 (2016), pp. 139-74 (Hebrew); Y. Ronen, ‘Neturei Karta’s Activity against the Establishment of the State,’ Kivunim Hadashim Vol. 9 (2003), pp. 158-75 (Hebrew).

2 D. Elazar, ‘The Relations between Israel and American Jewry in the Context of the Worldwide Jewish Community,’ Kivunim Vol. 3 (1979), pp. 93-116 (Hebrew); N. Klein, The Destruction of My Kindred (New York: Hadar Graphic, 1998) (Hebrew).

3 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006) (Hebrew); Y. Habshush, The Surviving Remnant in Yemen (Bnei Brak: Habshush family, 1990) (Hebrew).

4 S. Goitein, The Yemenis: A History of Social Arrangements and Spiritual Life (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 1983) (Hebrew); B. Araki Clurman, The Jews of Yemen: History, Society, Culture, Vol. 2 (Ra’anana, Israel: Open University, 2004) (Hebrew); Y. Tobi, The Jews of Yemen: Studies in Their History and Culture (Leiden: Brill, 1999).

5 M. Juergensmeyer, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

6 R. S. Schwartz, The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

7 S. Sandler and J. Fox (eds.), Bringing Religion into International Relations (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004); S. Sandler and J. Fox, ‘The Question of Religion and World Politics,’ in S. Sandler and J. Fox (eds.), Religion in World Conflict (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 1-10.

8 M. Tzadok, ‘Jewish-Arab Relations in Yemen,’ in Israel Yeshayahu and Joseph Tobi (eds)., The Jews of Yemen (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 1976), pp. 147-63 (Hebrew); O. L. Loeb, ‘Jewish-Muslim Socio-Political Relations in the Twentieth Century in South Yemen,’ in Ephraim Isaac and Yosef Tobi (eds.), Judeo-Yemenite Studies (Princeton, NJ: Institute of Semitic Studies, 1999), pp. 71-99.

9 J. Nye and R. Keohane, ‘Transnational Relations and World Politics: An Introduction,’ International Organization Vol. 25, No. 3 (1971), pp. 329-49; J. Checkel, ‘Constructivism and Foreign Policy,’ in S. Smith, A. Hadfield, and T. Dunne (eds.), Foreign Policy Theories, Actors, Cases (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 71-82.

10 R. Keohane and J. Nye, Power and Interdependence (Boston: Little, Brown, 1977); R. Mansbach, H. Ferguson, and D. Lampart, The Web of World Politics (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976).

11 R. W. Cox, ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Theory,’ in R. O. Keohane (ed.), Neorealism and Its Critics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), pp. 204-54.

12 I. Vallier, ‘The Roman Catholic Church: A Transnational Actor,’ International Organization Vol. 25, No. 3 (1971), pp. 479-502.

13 R. Keohane and J. Nye, Power and Interdependence (Boston: Little, Brown, 1977), pp. 25-27; J. N. Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990).

14 B. Maddy-Weitzman and E. Inbar, Religious Radicalism in the Greater Middle East (London: Frank Cass, 1997).

15 W. Carlsnaes, ‘Actors, Structures, and Foreign Policy Analysis,’ in S. Smith, A. Hadfield, and T. Dunne (eds.), Foreign Policy Theories, Actors, Cases (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 85-100; O. Young, ‘The Actors in World Politics,’ in J. N. Rosenau, V. Davis, and M. A. East (eds.), The Analysis of International Politics (New York: Free Press, 1972) pp. 277-97.

16 J. Nye, ‘The Changing Nature of World Power,’ Political Science Quarterly Vol. 105, No. 2 (1990), pp. 177-92.

17 M. Keren-Kratz, ‘Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the Rabbi from Satmar (1887-1979): A Biography’ (PhD thesis, Tel Aviv University, 2013) (Hebrew).

18 C. Kaplan, Amram Blau: The World of a Neturei Karta Leader (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute and Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, 2017) (Hebrew); N. Nadler, ‘Piety and Politics: The Case of the Satmar Rebbe,’ Judaism Vol. 31, No. 2 (1982), pp. 135-52.

19 D. Sorotzkin, ‘The Redemption of Darkness and Obscurity—Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum: The Rabbi from Satmar,’ in B. Brown and N. Leon (eds.), The Great Ones: Men Who Shaped Haredi Judaism in Israel (Jerusalem: Magnes/Van Leer, 2017), pp. 371-401 (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘The State of Israel: The Beginning of the Redemption or an Act of Satan?’ Emdot Vol. 7 (2015), pp. 169-212, at pp. 197-202 (Hebrew).

20 D. Sorotzkin, ‘Building a Land Below and Destroying the Land Above: The Rabbi from Satmar and the Radical Orthodox School,’ in A. Ravitzki (ed.), The Land of Israel in Jewish Thought in the Twentieth Century (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 2004), pp. 139-59 (Hebrew); S. Ratzbi, ‘Anti-Zionism and Messianic Tension in the Thought of Rabbi Sholom Dovber,’ Me’asaef Hatzionut Vol. 20 (1996), pp. 77-101 (Hebrew).

21 Y. Kraus, ‘Judaism and Zionism—Two That Do Not Go Together: The Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum—the Admor from Satmar,’ Me’asef Hatzionut Vol. 22 (2000), pp. 30-67 (Hebrew); A. Ravitzky, The Revealed End and the State of the Jews (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1993), pp. 60-67, 111-200 (Hebrew); Y. M. Bergman, The Jewish State (Jerusalem: Yaakov Moshe Bergman, 2003) (Hebrew).

22 J. Teitelbaum, And Joel Moshe (Brooklyn: Jerusalem Book Publishers, 1960), pp. 14-17, 136-39 (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘The Three Oaths as the Basis of the Anti-Zionist Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum’ (MA thesis, Hebrew University and University of Maryland, 1990) (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘The State of Israel: The Beginning of the Redemption or an Act of Satan?’ Emdot Vol. 7 (2015), pp. 169-212, at pp. 191-93 (Hebrew).

23 Y. Kraus, ‘The State of Israel: The Beginning of the Redemption or an Act of Satan?’ Emdot Vol. 7 (2015 ), pp. 169-212, at p. 189 (Hebrew).

24 M. Keren-Kratz, ‘Is the Jewish State the Ultimate Evil or a Golden Opportunity? Ideology vs. Politics in the Teaching and Actions of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum—the Satmar Rebbe,’ Jewish Political Studies Review Vol. 29, No. 2 (2018), pp. 5-26.

25 Y. Kraus, ‘The Three Oaths as the Basis of the Anti-Zionist Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum’ (MA thesis, Hebrew University and University of Maryland, 1990) (Hebrew).

26 H. Ben-Pazi, ‘On the Anti-Universalism of the “Zionist Idea”: The Satmar Viewpoint of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum,’ Hahinuch v’Svivo Vol. 29 (2007), pp. 291-304 (Hebrew).

27 Ibid., at pp. 291-300; Y. Kraus, ‘Judaism and Zionism—Two That Do Not Go Together: The Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum—the Admor from Satmar,’ Me’asef Hatzionut Vol. 22 (2000), pp. 30-67, at pp. 43-45 (Hebrew).

28 J. Teitelbaum, And Joel Moshe (Brooklyn: Jerusalem Book Publishers, 1960), pp. 27-29 (Hebrew); J. Teitelbaum, On Redemption and Change (New York: Sifriyat Yerushalayim, 1967), pp. 6-7 (Hebrew); A. Ravitzky, The Revealed End and the State of the Jews (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1993), pp. 67-74 (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘Judaism and Zionism—Two That Do Not Go Together: The Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum—the Admor from Satmar,’ Me’asef Hatzionut Vol. 22 (2000), pp. 30-67, at pp. 45-47 (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘The State of Israel: The Beginning of the Redemption or an Act of Satan?’ Emdot Vol. 77 (2015), pp. 169-212, at pp. 189-91 (Hebrew); D. Sorotzkin, ‘The Redemption of Darkness and Obscurity—Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum: The Rabbi from Satmar,’ in B. Brown and N. Leon (eds)., The Great Ones: Men Who Shaped Haredi Judaism in Israel (Jerusalem: Magnes/Van Leer, 2017), pp. 371-401 (Hebrew).

29 Y. Kraus, ‘Judaism and Zionism—Two That Do Not Go Together: The Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum—the Admor from Satmar,’ Me’asef Hatzionut Vol. 22 (2000), pp. 30-67, at pp. 44-45 (Hebrew).

30 J. Teitelbaum, And Joel Moshe (Brooklyn: Jerusalem Book Publishers, 1960), p. 11 (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘The State of Israel: The Beginning of the Redemption or an Act of Satan?’ Emdot Vol. 77 (2015): 169-212, at p. 189 (Hebrew).

31 A. Ravitzky, The Revealed End and the State of the Jews (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1993), pp. 89-93 (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘Judaism and Zionism—Two That Do Not Go Together: The Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum—the Admor from Satmar,’ Me’asef Hatzionut Vol. 22 (2000), pp. 30-67, at pp. 40-43 (Hebrew).

32 H. Ben-Pazi, ‘On the Anti-Universalism of the “Zionist Idea”: The Satmar Viewpoint of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum,’ Hahinuch v’Svivo Vol. 29 (2007), pp. 291-304, at pp. 301-04 (Hebrew); A. Ravitzky, The Revealed End and the State of the Jews (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1993), pp. 277-305 (Hebrew); M. Keren-Kratz, ‘Is the Jewish State the Ultimate Evil or a Golden Opportunity? Ideology vs. Politics in the Teaching and Actions of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum—the Satmar Rebbe,’ Jewish Political Studies Review Vol. 29, No. 2 (2018), pp. 19-20.

33 J. Teitelbaum, And Joel Moshe (Brooklyn: Jerusalem Book Publishers, 1960), pp. 197-400 (Hebrew); Y. Kraus, ‘The State of Israel: The Beginning of the Redemption or an Act of Satan?’ Emdot Vol. 77 (2015): 169-212, at pp. 201-220 (Hebrew).

34 J. Teitelbaum, And Joel Moshe (Brooklyn: Jerusalem Book Publishers, 1960), pp. 197-98 (Hebrew); D. Sorotzkin, ‘Building a Land Below and Destroying the Land Above: The Rabbi from Satmar and the Radical Orthodox School,’ in A. Ravitzki (ed.), The Land of Israel in Jewish Thought in the Twentieth Century (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 2004), pp. 139-59, at pp. 159-62 (Hebrew).

35 D. Sorotzkin, ‘Building a Land Below and Destroying the Land Above: The Rabbi from Satmar and the Radical Orthodox School,’ in A. Ravitzki (ed.), The Land of Israel in Jewish Thought in the Twentieth Century (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 2004), pp. 139-59, at pp. 159-63 (Hebrew); H. Ben-Pazi, ‘On the Anti-Universalism of the “Zionist Idea”: The Satmar Viewpoint of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum,’ Hahinuch v’Svivo Vol. 29 (2007), pp. 291-304, at pp. 297-300 (Hebrew).

36 D. Sorotzkin, ‘Building a Land Below and Destroying the Land Above: The Rabbi from Satmar and the Radical Orthodox School,’ in A. Ravitzki (ed.), The Land of Israel in Jewish Thought in the Twentieth Century (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 2004), pp. 139-59, at p. 161; Y. Kraus, ‘Judaism and Zionism—Two That Do Not Go Together: The Doctrine of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum—the Admor from Satmar,’ Me’asef Hatzionut Vol. 22 (2000), pp. 30-67, at pp. 50-53 (Hebrew).

37 D. Sorotzkin, ‘Building a Land Below and Destroying the Land Above: The Rabbi from Satmar and the Radical Orthodox School,’ in A. Ravitzki (ed.), The Land of Israel in Jewish Thought in the Twentieth Century (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 2004), pp. 139-59, at pp. 162-65 (Hebrew); S. Ratzbi, ‘Anti-Zionism and Messianic Tension in the Thought of Rabbi Sholom Dovber,’ Me’asaef Hatzionut Vol. 20 (1996), pp. 77-101, at pp. 80-85 (Hebrew).

38 The Tehran Children Accuse (Jerusalem: Workers’ Committee of Agudat Israel, 1943) (Hebrew).

39 G. Agronsky, ‘The Jews of Yemen and Aden in the Days of Imam Yihiye,’ in Joseph Tobi (ed.), The Jews of Yemen in the New Era (Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1984), pp. 163-77 (Hebrew).

40 M. Gabra, The History of the Jewish People in the Yemeni Diaspora (Bnei Brak: Institute for Research on the Sages of Yemen, 2007) (Hebrew); P. Dresch, A History of Modern Yemen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), pp. 83-103.

41 N. Moshe, Between Two Cultures (Jerusalem: M. Nahum, 1989), p. 150 (Hebrew).

42 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), pp. 65-68 (Hebrew).

43 N. Klein, The Destruction of My Kindred (New York: Hadar Graphic, 1998) (Hebrew).

44 Interview with Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim, editor of the newspaper Ha’Eda, June 23, 2006, conducted by Mr. Avi Yihiye.

45 D. Elazar, ‘The Relations between Israel and American Jewry in the Context of the Worldwide Jewish Community,’ Kivunim Vol. 3 (1979), pp. 93-116.

46 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), p. 56 (Hebrew); A. Kapeliuk, ‘I Visited the Survivors of Yemen,’ Yediot Aharonot, Shabbat supplement, November 16, 1984, p. 18 (Hebrew).

47 M. Friedman, Haredi Society: Sources, Trends, and Processes (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute of Israel Studies, 1991), pp. 88-103 (Hebrew); A. Levi, The Haredim (Jerusalem: Keter, 1988), pp. 192-203 (Hebrew); C. Kaplan, Amram Blau: The World of a Neturei Karta Leader (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute and Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, 2017) (Hebrew).

48 Y. Habshush, The Surviving Remnant in Yemen (Bnei Brak: Habshush family, 1990), pp. 59-61 (Hebrew); Y. Habshush, Under Siege and on the Precipice (Israel: Habshush family, 1995), pp. 90-91 (Hebrew).

49 Interview with Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim.

50 R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), p. 87.

51 Y. Habshush, The Surviving Remnant in Yemen (Bnei Brak: Habshush family, 1990), p. 51 (Hebrew); R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), pp. 87-98.

52 Y. Habshush, Under Siege and on the Precipice (Israel: Habshush family, 1995), p. 91 (Hebrew); H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), p. 57 (Hebrew).

53 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), pp. 56-57 (Hebrew).

54 See the letter by Rabbi Yosef Bachar to Rabbi Yaish ben Rabi Yihiye Levi from Thursday, ‘Shelach’ weekly Torah portion, 1980, on the issue of the contributions to establishing Talmud Torah schools in Yemen. From the private archive of Mr. Shlomo Jarfi, Gedera, Israel.

55 A. Nevo, ‘The Black Network,’ Yediot Aharonot, ‘7 Days,’ December 17, 1993, p. 47 (Hebrew); Y. Habshush, Under Siege and on the Precipice (Israel: Habshush family, 1995), pp. 85-89 (Hebrew); ‘On the Backs of the Jews,’ Panim Hadashot Vol. 262, 5th of Av (1993), p. 12 (Hebrew).

56 Y. Habshush, Under Siege and on the Precipice (Israel: Habshush family, 1995), p. 90 (Hebrew).

57 Ibid., p. 91.

58 A. Nevo, ‘The Black Network,’ Yediot Aharonot, ‘7 Days,’ December 17, 1993, p. 47 (Hebrew); Y. Habshush, Under Siege and on the Precipice (Israel: Habshush family, 1995), p. 92 (Hebrew).

59 A. Bender, ‘I Thought Israel Was a Desert Country, with No Road and No Path and No Car,’ Panim Hadashot Vol. 262, 5th of Av (1993), p. 13 (Hebrew); ‘On the Backs of the Jews,’ Panim Hadashot Vol. 262, 5th of Av (1993), p. 12 (Hebrew).

60 Y. Habshush, The Surviving Remnant in Yemen (Bnei Brak: Habshush family, 1990), p. 118 (Hebrew); H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), p. 66 (Hebrew).

61 Y. Habshush, The Surviving Remnant in Yemen (Bnei Brak: Habshush family, 1990), p. 119 (Hebrew).

62 Interview with Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim.

63 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), pp. 87-100 (Hebrew); R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), pp. 105-08.

64 R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), p. 105.

65 Y. Habshush, Under Siege and on the Precipice (Israel: Habshush family, 1995), pp. 11-12 (Hebrew).

66 Ibid.

67 R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), pp. 107-08.

68 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), pp. 149-73 (Hebrew).

69 Ibid., pp. 108-09.

70 Ibid., pp. 171-73.

71 R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), pp. 111-12.

72 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), p. 180 (Hebrew).

73 Y. Kostiner, Yemen (Beit Berl, Israel: Histadrut, 1992), pp. 25-26 (Hebrew); R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), pp. 112-15; P. Dresch, A History of Modern Yemen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 186-93.

74 Y. Melman, ‘The Magic Carpet of Chaim and Pierre,’ Haaretz, August 22, 1999, p. B3 (Hebrew); L. Galili, ‘The Emigration of the Jews Helps the Yemeni Government,’ Panim Hadashot Vol. 262, 5th of Av (1993), p. 13 (Hebrew).

75 R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), p. 11.

76 Ibid., p. 13.

77 Ibid., pp. 115-17.

78 Interview with Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim.

79 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), p. 188 (Hebrew); B. Kimmerling, ‘Exodus from Yemen,’ Haaretz, August 6, 1999, p. B14 (Hebrew).

80 Yitzhak Katabi, head of the Kiryat Ekron Council in the 1980s, was a member of the Committee for the Rescue of the Yemeni Jews. He stated that the committee exerted pressure on the Israeli government, which turned to the U.S. administration on the issue. Interview conducted with him on May 21, 2006, by Mr. Avi Yihiye.

81 H. Tawil, On Eagle’s Wings: Operation Esther (Jerusalem: Gur-Aryeh, 2006), p. 172 (Hebrew).

82 D. Yolan, ‘The New Yemeni Immigrants Call Him Messiah,’ Arim, July 25, 1997, p. 56 (Hebrew).

83 R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), p. 131.

84 S. Gabai, and A. Tirosh, ‘A Yemeni Leader: Emigration by Jews Does Not Cause Us Harm,’ Maariv, ‘Maariv Hayom,’ July 15, 1993, p. 4 (Hebrew).

85 Y. Yehezkeli, ‘How I Missed Mother,’ Yediot Aharonot, March 29, 2005, pp. 12-13 (Hebrew).

86 According to Shlomo Jarfi, a member of ICROJOY, Satmar’s activity became more extreme at this stage as ICROJOY succeeded in generating immigration to Israel. Interview conducted with him on June 25, 2006, by Mr. Avi Yihiye.

87 ‘On the Backs of the Jews,’ Panim Hadashot Vol. 262, 5th of Av (1993), p. 12; J. Steve, The Jewish Press Magazine, August 20, 1993, p. 12.

88 R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), p. 129.

89 S. Gabai, ‘Since July ’92 120 Jews Have Left Yemen,’ Maariv, March 30, 1993, p. 16 (Hebrew); R. Ahroni, Jewish Emigration from the Yemen 1951-98 (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001), pp. 129-32.

90 Y. Yehezkeli, ‘How I Missed Mother,’ Yediot Aharonot, March 29, 2005, pp. 12-13 (Hebrew); Z. Yehezkeli, ‘8 Jews from Yemen Went to London for a Campaign against Continued Immigration to Israel,’ Yediot Aharonot, July 20, 1993, p. 15 (Hebrew); N. Mozgovia, ‘The Magic Carpet from Brooklyn,’ Yediot Aharonot, June 3, 2004, p. 3 (Hebrew); Or Heller, ‘I No Longer Fear the Satmars,’ Maariv, ‘Maariv Hayom,’ February 25, 2001, pp. 4-5 (Hebrew).

91 A. Nevo, ‘The Black Network,’ Yediot Aharonot, ‘7 Days,’ December 17, 1993, p. 47 (Hebrew); A. Bender, ‘I Thought Israel Was a Desert Country, with No Road and No Path and No Car,’ Panim Hadashot Vol. 262, 5th of Av (1993), p. 13 (Hebrew).

92 See letters that were written by Satmar Hasidim to Jews in Yemen. An example is the letter by Rabbi Yosef Bachar to Mr. Ibrahim Suleiman from Thursday, Re’eh weekly Torah portion, 1994; or the letter by Israel Matityahu Grossman from Be’er Yaakov to Rabbi Eliezer in Sana’a from the 22nd of Shevat, 1994. See also the publication of Neturei Karta on this issue that was sent to the Yemeni Jews: ‘A Little That a Righteous Man Hath Is Better than the Riches of Many Wicked,’ from the 7th of Iyar, 1994. From the private archive of Mr. Shlomo Jarfi, Gedera, Israel.

93 A. Weissberg, ‘A Clear and Immediate Danger,’ Israel Hayom, March 20, 2015 (Hebrew), www.israelhayom.co.il/article/267591; N. Leon, ‘Mizrahi Ultra-Orthodoxy and the Theo-Ethnocratic Path in Israel,’ in Ephraim Lavi (ed.), Religion and Nationalism (Jerusalem: Carmel, 2015), pp. 209-25 (Hebrew).

94 E. Brandstein, ‘Chagrin in the Jewish Agency: Yemeni Jews Will Emigrate to the United States,’ nrg, March 18, 2009 (Hebrew), www.makorrishon.co.il/nrg/online/1/ART1/867/652.html.

95 R. Nahum Halevi, ‘Discussions in the Knesset on Bringing Yemeni Jews to Israel and Rescuing Them from the Satmars and Neturei Karta,’ News1, June 21, 2004 (Hebrew),

http://www.nfc.co.il/archive/001-D-48528-00.html?tag=0-04-47.

96 See the statements by Uri Gordon in a meeting of the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee on June 1, 1994, Protocol No. 114 (Hebrew).

97 R. Nahum Halevi, ‘Discussions in the Knesset on Bringing Yemeni Jews to Israel and Rescuing Them from the Satmars and Neturei Karta,’ News1, June 21, 2004 (Hebrew),

http://www.nfc.co.il/archive/001-D-48528-00.html?tag=0-04-47; E. Konforti, Zionism in Reverse (Jerusalem: Hasifria Hatzionit, 2009) (Hebrew).

98 A. Weissberg, ‘A Clear and Immediate Danger,’ Israel Hayom, March 20, 2015 (Hebrew), www.israelhayom.co.il/article/267591.

99 S. Cohen, ‘A Revolution in Yemen? The Jews Simply Don’t Want to Come,’ Arutz 7, February 15, 2015 (Hebrew), https://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/295787; D. Levitan, ‘The Unstable Political and Security Situation in Yemen and the State of the Surviving Remnant,’ Afikim Vols. 136-37 (2001), pp. 4-6 (Hebrew).

100 Y. Habshush, Under Siege and on the Precipice (Israel: Habshush family, 1995), pp. 93-94 (Hebrew); D. Luzon , ‘A Stolen Child,’ Yediot Aharonot, April 7, 2000, p. 5 (Hebrew); L. Bar Geffen, ‘Testimony: This Is How I Was Kidnapped by Satmar Hasidim,’ Ynet, March 19, 2001 (Hebrew), https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-608670,00.html.

101 Z. Klein, ‘Yemeni Jews, the Last Who Wanted to Come to Israel, Have Landed in Israel,’ nrg, March 21, 2016 (Hebrew), https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-608670,00.html; E. Rotem, ‘Satmar Took Them, Too,’ Kipa, August 25, 2011 (Hebrew), .https://www.google.com/search?q=%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%AA%D7%9D+%D7%90+%D7%A1%D7%90%D7%98%D7%9E%D7%A8+%D7%9C%D7%A7%D7%97%D7%95+%D7%92%D7%9D+%D7%90%D7%95%D7%AA%D7%A4+%D7%9B%D7%99%D7%A4%D7%94&rlz=1C1AVNG_enIL622IL622&oq=%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%AA%D7%9D+%D7%90+%D7%A1%D7%90%D7%98%D7%9E%D7%A8+%D7%9C%D7%A7%D7%97%D7%95+%D7%92%D7%9D+%D7%90%D7%95%D7%AA%D7%A4++%D7%9B%D7%99%D7%A4%D7%94&aqs=chrome..69i57.16704j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8; A. Barkat and S. Shamir, ‘The Jewish Agency Helped a Jewish Family Flee from Satmar Hasidism,’ Haaretz, August 25, 2011 (Hebrew), https://www.haaretz.co.il/misc/1.971300.

102 R. Nahum Halevi, ‘Discussions in the Knesset on Bringing Yemeni Jews to Israel and Rescuing Them from the Satmars and Neturei Karta,’ News1, June 21, 2004 (Hebrew), http://www.nfc.co.il/archive/001-D-48528-00.html?tag=0-04-47; R. Sharabi, ‘Status of the Female Immigrants from Yemen in the Farming Community and the City: A Change, Not a Revolution,’ Tehuda Vol. 29 (2013), pp. 27-32 (Hebrew).

103 See the meeting of the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee on March 19, 2001, Protocol No. 136 (Hebrew).