by Yossi Klein Halevi
Here’s an excuse to listen to some great Yemenite music.
Last week, 19 Jews were ferried out of Yemen and brought home to Israel. The secret operation signals the final chapter in the history of Yemenite Jewry, one of the most ancient diasporas. (Less than 50 Jews remain in the country.) During the centuries of exile, no Jewish community longed for Zion as intensely as the Jews of Yemen. In their songs and prayers, in their messianic fervor and in the attempts by groups to move to the land of Israel, Yemenite Jews kept faith with the lost land. And when the state of Israel was established, the first Jewish community to return en masse were the Yemenites.
Here are two of Israel’s great singers of Yemenite origin, DAKLON and Sagiv Cohen, offering traditional songs of longing for Zion:
“I will ask my God/
to redeem the prisoners/
to gather the seeds [the dispersed of Israel]…/
We will go up to our land with song and praise.”
Reprinted with permission
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