Jews and Muslims in Yemen

We are pleased to announce that the fifth book from our series “Shared History” has been published by Editions Tallandier. This collection of books traces the common history of Jews and Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa.

About the book :

The settlement of Jews in Yemen goes back to biblical times, long before Islam and even prior to the legendary encounter of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Today, the last Jews of Yemen struggle for survival.

 In ancient times, Yemenite Jews were integrated in the local population, adopting its languages and customs. Succeeding in Judaizing their neighbours, the Jewish community is credited with the introduction of agriculture, irrigation, goldsmithing and metal work.

The 7th century marked the expansion of Islam and Yemen became a peripheral region. The caliphs of Baghdad had forsaken their authority over these lands, leaving it to autonomous Sunni or Shia religious leaders, as they were keen on keeping their population free from any foreign power.

From the arrival of Islam up until the 20th century, the region was stuck in the almost unchangeable structures of a hierarchized society in which Jews were at the bottom.

 Basing his work on Jewish, Arab and European sources, Yosef Yuval Tobi highlights the special place of Yemenite Jews in Islamic lands and retraces their long history in Yemen that came to an end in the sadness of exodus after the creation of the State of Israel.

About the author :

Yosef Yuval Tobi is professor emeritus of the University of Haifa. Born in Jerusalem to Yemenite parents, he is considered one of the top experts of the Jewish community in Yemen and is the author of numerous books on the subject.