JERUSALEM (Sep. 19)
The thousand-year-old Jewish cemetery in Taiz, Yemen’s alternate capital where the Yemenite Jewish poet Shalom Shabazi is buried, has been desecrated and totally razed to the ground, according to a report that reached Yisrael Yeshayahu, Speaker of the last Knesset. The report came from a highly authoritative person who recently returned from a visit to Yemen. Shabazi died about 300 years ago and his tomb was considered holy. Masses of Jews from Yemen and Aden (South Yemen) once came to it for meditation and prayer.
The source wrote to Yeshayahu: “With the aid of the photographs you sent me I tried to locate the Jewish cemetery in Taiz and to find Shalom Shabazi’s tomb. I was helped in the task by a local resident who knew his way around. The news we had already had about a road being laid across the cemetery proved to be correct.
“I travelled back and forth along this road and neither left nor right could I see any traces of a cemetery–not even a single tombstone. The appearance of the surroundings gives evidence of their having recently been relandscaped to form houses and agricultural terraces. There are still signs of road building in evidence such as piles of earth….”
Since the establishment of the State of Israel and the mass influx of Yemenite Jewry, efforts were made to transfer Shabazi’s remains to Israel but to no avail.