The Houthi militias controls Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, have recently arrested a rabbi who was accused of aiding in the “smuggling [of] an ancient Torah scroll to Israel,” Yemenite media reported Monday.
The reporter said, Yahia Youssef Yaish, has been the target for the Houthi militias upon their seizure of power in the capital in December 2014.
Local sources told the Yemenite news site “Yemen News” that Yaish, who has been interrogated by the police in Sanaa, was arrested in order to pressure Jews in Yemen to leave the country and immigrate to Israel.
Following his arrest, a group of local activists issued a statement of support for the rabbi, urging the Houthi militias to free him and several employees in Sanaa’s airport, who were arrested with him.
On March 21, a group of 19 Yemenite Jews were brought to Israel in a clandestine Jewish Agency mission. Among the new immigrants was Rabbi Saliman Dahari who brought with him a Torah scroll that is 500-years-old, arousing rage among Yemenites who blamed Israel for “robbing Yemen’s historical assets.