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August 18, 2020 12:08 pm

US Special Envoy on Antisemitism Calls for Release of Yemenite Jew Said to Be Jailed by Iran-Backed Houthis

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A Houthi supporter looks on as he carries a weapon during a gathering in Sanaa, Yemen, April 2, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamed al-Sayaghi / File.

A top US official has called for the release of a Yemenite Jewish man said to be imprisoned by the Iran-backed Houthis for allegedly aiding the transfer of a Torah scroll to Israel.

Ami Magazine reported in 2018 that Levi Salem Musa Marhabi was arrested for helping the Dahari family to bring the scroll, claimed by some to be 800 years old, to Israel in 2016.

The family was photographed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reading from the scroll, which drew attention in Yemen.

Moti Kahana, an Israeli-American humanitarian activist, was quoted by Ami Magazine as saying, “The Iranians and the Houthis saw reports of the rescue and were infuriated. It was as if Bibi was bragging about how Israel managed to smuggle the Jews and the precious Torah scroll out of Yemen right under their noses.”

“The Yemenis were particularly incensed as they considered that Torah to be a national Yemeni treasure,” he added.

On Tuesday, US Special Envoy Elan Carr tweeted, “The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have a record of persecuting religious minorities. Levi Salem Musa Marhabi, a member of Yemen’s small Jewish community, has endured 4 years in prison despite a legal order for his release. We join in calling for his immediate release.”

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