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July 19, 2009

Yemen : a love story

A Yemeni Jewish girl married an Israeli citizen after her older sister converted to Islam and got married to a Muslim without the consent of her parents, sources close to the family said Thursday.

Saeed bin Saeed al-Naeti married off his 18-year old daughter Barakha to Mousa Shaghdari, a Yemeni Jew who left Yemen for Israel in 1994. The condition of the father was that Shaghdari should leave Yemen with his bride as soon as possible, the sources said.

The couple Mousa and Barakha are expected to leave Yemen for Israel next week, the sources said.

The older daughter of Saeed, Leyah, 20, was wed on the same day,

Thursday July 16th, to a Muslim man, Abdul Rahman al-Huthaifi in Kharef, Amran province.

On June 29th, 2009, Leyah was wed from Kharef to her Jewish groom Haron Salem, one of about 66 Jews who have been living in a Tourism City compound in the capital Sana’a since they were expelled from Sa’adah by al-Houthi rebels in 2005.

About five days after the wedding, the Jewish bride escaped from her husband’s house in the compound, called “Tourist City”, to a chief of the tribesmen of Arhab in the northern outskirts of the Sana’a.

She was in love with her Muslim neighbor, but her parents did not want him to marry their daughter, a relative said.

On Wednesday July 15, the Jewish bride announced her conversion to Islam in Arhab district in front of a number tribal Sheikhs who conducted the required procedures for the new marriage and cancellation of the first marriage.

The first marriage was nullified by a court verdict after she converted to Islam.

Abdullah Nasser who attended the wedding said, “It was distinguished in terms of the number of cars accompanying the bride and the number of bullets that were fired to air.”

The rabbi Yahya Mousa, who arranged the first marriage to one of his relatives, said the new marriage violated the rules of Judaism, of Islam, Christianity and all religions.

Commenting on her conversion to Islam, the rabbi said “Her Islam is not true Islam; this is the Islam of love. True Islam is the love of the religion.”

“We were wronged, we are underdogs. But we hope President Ali Abdullah Saleh will stand with us and do what is just,” He said in a telephone call with Yemen Observer.

The father of the bride, Saeed Bin Saeed al-Naeti, said,” We are tens of Jews among millions of Muslim tribesmen. If they want even to kill us they will do that easily. No state will protect us and no one will stand with us,”

He said he does not know if his daughter was in love with al-Huthaifi, whose house is only 2 km far. But he does not agree that Jews should marry Muslims or vice versa.

The rabbi Mousa said the Jews are preparing to stage a sit-in, in front of the Presidential Palace next Sunday to demand protection for Yemen’s Jews. Only about 320 Jews are left in Yemen and live predominately in the capital Sana’a and Amran province.

This was Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite: ‘We Are Mired in Stalemate,’ Feb. 27, 1968


When I watched Walter Cronkite’s heroic commentary in early 1968, I thought the country might finally have turned around on the Vietnam War. But Cronkite was ahead of the curve on Vietnam, and the US remained there for another seven years, costing the lives of tens of thousands more Americans and millions more Southeast Asians.

After Cronkite’s broadcast, President Lyndon Johnson is reported to have said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” Several weeks later, Johnson announced he would not seek reelection.

Walter Cronkite died today at the age of 92. His 1968 words should be read again:

Tonight, back in more familiar surroundings in New York, we’d like to sum up our findings in Vietnam, an analysis that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Tet offensive against the cities? I’m not sure. The Vietcong did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may make it a draw. Another standoff may be coming in the big battles expected south of the Demilitarized Zone. Khesanh could well fall, with a terrible loss in American lives, prestige and morale, and this is a tragedy of our stubbornness there; but the bastion no longer is a key to the rest of the northern regions, and it is doubtful that the American forces can be defeated across the breadth of the DMZ with any substantial loss of ground. Another standoff. On the political front, past performance gives no confidence that the Vietnamese government can cope with its problems, now compounded by the attack on the cities. It may not fall, it may hold on, but it probably won’t show the dynamic qualities demanded of this young nation. Another standoff.

We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi’s winter-spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realization that they could not win the longer war of attrition, and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations. It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any negotiations must be that — negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms. For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. This summer’s almost certain standoff will either end in real give-and-take negotiations or terrible escalation; and for every means we have to escalate, the enemy can match us, and that applies to invasion of the North, the use of nuclear weapons, or the mere commitment of one hundred, or two hundred, or three hundred thousand more American troops to the battle. And with each escalation, the world comes closer to the brink of cosmic disaster.

To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy’s intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.

This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.


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