2019-10-31 | JIMENA in the Press


The demand by the Yemeni government was filed with the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, and a hearing was held on late October.

BY ALEX WINSTON OCTOBER 31, 2019 09:44 Jerusalem Post

War-torn Yemen demands return of Jewish treasures now in the U.S.
YEMENITE FAMILIES are shown in 1951 at Givat Ye’arim, a moshav just west of Jerusalem, whose initial residents arrived in Israel as part of the airlift of Jews from Yemen. (GPO). (photo credit: GPO)

Yemen’s government has filed a request for a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] with the US State Department in an attempt to claim ownership over Jewish cultural items it claims were smuggled out of Yemen illegally, Fox News reported.

Among the items are a centuries old Torah scroll that was smuggled to Israel by the family of Manny Dahari, whose family has owned the scroll for at least 300 years.

Dahari told Fox News that if the request was granted by the US, then, “basically it would criminalize anyone who brings any of these items to the United States, or takes them out of those countries,”

The Yemeni government submitted the claim under the guise that the Jewish items are “national cultural artifacts.”

Jewish groups worldwide have asked the US government not to honor by Yemen’s request.

“Jewish cultural property such as Torah Scrolls does not constitute the national heritage of governments who expel or who forced their Jewish communities to flee antisemitic prosecution,” Sarah Levin, the executive director of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa [JIMENA], said.

JIMENA wrote on their website that, “MOUs demand that the governments themselves show they are taking measures to preserve and protect the heritage in their own countries and the Yemeni government is complicit in the bombing and shelling of cultural sites, including museums.