Yemen Culture Minister to Give Her Anti-extremism Award to Country's Jews

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Jews from Yemen immigrate to Israel in 1949. The report puts the combined value of the lost assets at 'a few billion dollars.'Credit: Zoltan Kluger/GPO

Yemen's culture minister, who was recently honored for her work combating extremism and discrimination against women, says she is giving her award to Yemen's dwindling Jewish population.

Arwa Othman won Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award in September. At a Thursday celebration in Sanaa, Othman called for "tolerance" and dedicated her award to "brothers and friends from the Jewish community."

Othman has been subjected to a smear campaign by hard-line Salafi groups because of her civil rights work and support for the Jewish community.

According to the Jewish Agency, fewer than 90 Jews live in Yemen — half of them in a guarded compound which protects the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Sanaa. They are often subject to attacks by both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim militants.

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