Return of the Exiles


For centuries, Yemenite Jews who yearned to live in the Holy Land would walk hundreds of miles through the Arabian desert by foot or in camel caravans. In the early 20th century, many came to the Land of Israel to farm and build. While many of their European counterparts came with secular Zionistic ideology, the Yemenite Jews came with a religious, Biblical ideology.

With the Arab world up in arms after the State of Israel was declared, the Israeli government airlifted tens of thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel through Operation Magic Carpet in 1949.

The Yemenite Jews in this wave of Aliyah were ill-treated by the secular Zionist establishment. Despite that, the Yemenite community is large, visible, and has deeply influenced the religious and secular cultures of modern Israel.

The few Jews who remained in Yemen after Operation Magic Carpet slowly moved to Israel over the next several decades. As of 2021, only four Jews remained in Yemen., while about 400,000 Yemenite Jews live in Israel.