The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times

By Reeva Spector Simon; Michael Menachem Laskier et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
21
Yemen

BAT-ZION ERAQI-KLORMAN

Yemen is in the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered on the west by the Red Sea, on the north by Saudi Arabia, and on the south by the former Aden Protectorates, where the majority of the Jewish population lived. (Aden was occupied by the British in 1839, became a crown colony in 1937, and in 1967 became the state of South Yemen, merging in 1990 with what was then called North Yemen. This discussion relates only to North Yemen.) Yemen has three distinct geographical regions: the hot coastal strip; the interior highlands, which are characterized by numerous narrow fertile valleys and rugged peaks that form natural boundaries separating parts of the population from one another and from any effective central control; and the arid eastern foothills, which lead to the Rub' al-Khali desert of the central Arabian Peninsula.

The Jews were Yemen's only non-Muslim minority, and they lived among a population almost evenly divided between the Shafici Sunnis, members of mainstream Islam, and the Zaydis, members of one branch of the Shiites whose adherents believe that as the descendants of Ali, the cousin and sonin-law of the prophet Muhammad, they have the sole prerogative to lead the Muslim community. Unlike other Shiite sects, religious differences between the Sunnis and the Zaydis in matters of doctrine and law are relatively insignificant. Yemen has been under Zaydi domination since the sixteenth century, headed by Zaydi imams who were acknowledged as political and religious leaders.

During the nineteenth century internal instability characterized Yemen. In addition, because of its strategic location international interest in the affairs of the country was growing: Yemen had long been an essential link in the land-and-seagoing trade network of the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and

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The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Contributors xiii
  • Part 1 - Themes 1
  • Chapter 1 3
  • Chapter 2 - Europe in the Middle East 19
  • Chapter 3 - Economic Lire 29
  • Chapter 4 - Community Leadership and Structure 49
  • Chapter 5 - Religfion: Rabbinic Tradition and the Response to Modernity 65
  • Chapter 6 - Intellectual Lire 85
  • Chapter 7 - Jewish Languages Enter the Modern Era 113
  • Chapter 8 - Education 142
  • Chapter 9 - Zionism 165
  • Chapter 10 - Beliefs And, Customs 180
  • Chapter 11 - Material Culture 205
  • Chapter 12 - Music 224
  • Chapter 13 - The World, or Women 235
  • Part 2 - Country-By-Country Survey 275
  • Chapter 14 - Ottoman Turkey 277
  • Chapter 15 - The Ottoman Balkans 292
  • Chapter 16 - Turkey 303
  • Chapter 17 - Syria and Lebanon 316
  • Chapter 18 - Erets Israel/Palestine, 1800–1948 335
  • Chapter 19 - Iraq 347
  • Chapter 20 - Iran and Afghanistan 367
  • Chapter 21 - Yemen 389
  • Chapter 22 - Egypt and the Sudan 409
  • Chapter 23 - Libya 431
  • Chapter 24 - Tunisia 444
  • Chapter 25 - Algeria 458
  • Chapter 26 - Morocco 471
  • Appendix - Middle East and North African Jewry Cd 505
  • Index 529
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