By November 11, 2007 Read More →

Sir John Hope and the Yemenites, Excerpt from The Statistical Bases of Sir John Hope’s Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development in Palestine, Jewish Agency, 1931.

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51. Sir John Hope Simpson writes, when discussing Jewish immigration (p. 124)-

“In many cases persons have been admitted who, if the facts had all been known, should not have received visas. A large number of these cases have been examined. A considerable number concern Yemenite Jews who immigrate from Aden. The following cases all concern immigration certificates which have been used during the last three months, and were issued by the representatives of the Jewish Agency at Aden;

(i) A man aged 30 with a wife aged 20 and a son aged 12. This would imply that the son was born when his mother was 8 years old.

[39] (ii) A man aged 28 with a wife aged 18 and their son aged 12. In this case the mother must have been six years old when the son was born.

(iii) A man aged 23 with a wife aged 10 and their daughter aged 5.

(iv) A man aged 35 with a wife aged 24 and their daughter aged 15.

(v) A man aged 35 with a wife aged 25 and their daughter aged 16.

(vi) A man aged 35 with his wife aged 26 and their son aged 15.

(vii) A man aged 30 with a wife aged 22 and a son aged 12.”

The Jews in the Yemen live in extreme misery and degradation. Whatever their profession, as a sign of contempt they are all entered as “scavengers.” Their orphans are the wards of the Imam, who, qua guardian, compels them to adopt Mohammedanism. The Yemenite Jews will incur the greatest dangers in order to rescue them from enforced conversion. It may be that one of the Jews on Sir John Hope Simpson’s list has thus smuggled out such an orphan; it may be that he has found it, stranded and destitute, at Aden, and instead of passing through the proper formalities of adoption, has simply declared it his own. Such action would be comprehensible, charitable, and pardonable.

52. The Jewish religion allows the marriage of boys from the age of thirteen upwards, and Yemenite Jews marry extremely young. Because of the primitive conditions under which they live, the number of women dying in childbirth is large. Looking back, with this thought in mind, at the cases cited by Sir John Hope Simpson, it is clear [40] that every one of them is possible on the assumption that the child is from a previous marriage of the father. Sir John Hope Simpson has assumed in every case that the child must be from the present wife. Indeed, had fraud been intended, in the absence of passports and birth registers these immigrants could easily have readjusted their respective ages.

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