Jewish Yemenis included in country’s National Dialogue Conference


(JTA) — Five members of the Jewish community in Yemen have been appointed to the country’s National Dialogue Conference.

The dialogue conference is part of a power transfer deal following the ousting in February of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who peacefully transferred his power to current President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who had served as Saleh’s long-time deputy. The conference is set to discuss constitutional reforms that would open the door to elections for president and parliament in 2014, Reuters reported.

Hadi reportedly was allowed to fill 62 of the 565 conference seats to make sure that all ethnic and religious groups in Yemen are fully represented at the conference.

Rabbi Yahiya Yusuf, spiritual leader of Yemeni Jews, told the Yemen Times that the inclusion of Yemeni Jews in the conference shows that the country is committed to equality for people of all backgrounds. 

The Jewish community of Yemen now numbers some 130, with 50 living in the capital Sana’a in a compound secured by the government, and the remainder in Raydah, according to the Jewish Agency.

Attacks on Jews in Yemen by Islamist extremists have increased in recent years.

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