Back to the Ghetto, Yemen-style

The son of the head of Yemenite Jewish community (that is, the Jewish community still in Yemen) was shot and killed last week, and since then many members of the Jewish community have been threatened and have been victims of harassment from the greater Yemenite population.

If you were Ali Abdullah Saleh, the President of Yemen, how would you respond?yemenite_jews.jpg If you answered, build a ghetto for the Jews, and give them a $10,000 incentive per family to move into the new ghetto, then give yourself a pat on the back. Ynet reports:

Yemen’s president has informed human rights organizations and the heads of the Jewish community in the country of his decision to allocate an area in Sana’s northern suburb for the construction of a residential neighborhood for Jews on the state’s expense.

Any family who decides to move there from Umran will receive $10,000 in compensation.

According to President Saleh, the Jewish neighborhood will be guarded by security forces at all hours.

Since Nahari’s murder dozens of Jews in Umran have reported receiving death threats and falling victim to violent harassment in the streets of the Umran province.

I’m not even sure what to say about this. On the one hand this sounds very very different from Nazi ghettos, where Jews were forced to live, give up much or all of their property, and were subjected to persecution and execution by Nazis. On the other hand, it sounds something like the original ghetto, in Venice, in the 16th century.

But in 1516, when an enclosed neighborhood for Jews was created in Venice, “ghetto” referred to the foundry that the district replaced. What’s more, the intention wasn’t to persecute Jews per se: “The Venetian Republic segregated its Jews to placate the Roman Catholic Church, which had already forced the expulsion of Jews from much of Western Europe.”
Read more at Venice for Visitors.

What do you think the Jews of Yemen should do? Fight the ruling that puts them in ghettos, move to the ghetto, or get out of Yemen?

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