Yemeni Liah Saeed al-Naeti has an interesting story, one which shocked both the Jewish and Muslim communities residing in Yemen. Naeti is a Yemeni Jew who surprised both her relatives and clan when she left her Jewish husband. Coming from a “well-to-do family,” they did not expect her to elope with a Muslim, which she did unexpectedly, marrying him one week later. She had a high-profile Jewish wedding that was attended by many state officials and was held in Sana’a’s Tourist City.
The government had provided a living complex for the Jews who had received death threats in Sadah and Amran. There are only three hundred and thirty-eight Jews living in Yemen, which include forty-five families in Amran and sixty-seven individuals in Sana’a. The social interactions between these two religious groups in Yemen are limited, and although in Islam, a man can marry a Jewish woman, inter-religious marriage is a sin for Jews.
She left her Jewish husband, Haroun Salem, after being married for only seven days. She had apparently been in love with Abdel-Rahman al-Huthaifi, but her family did not accept him on religious grounds. Naeti converted to Islam in Sana’a before a group of Muslim preachers, and there she married Abdel. She then immediately had her Jewish marriage annulled.
How did their families respond to all of this? Well, the groom’s family were pleased and organized an elaborate wedding occasion which included a fireworks display and a long procession of cars which escorted them to their home. The bride’s family, on the other hand, were not so impressed. Naeti’s father was so upset by what had happened that he reacted by having his youngest daughter marry a Yemeni-Israeli Jew. He also insisted that they relocate immediately to the Jewish state, to avoid any future controversy.
When they heard that Naeti had eloped, the Jewish community reported that she had been kidnapped from her Jewish husband’s home. Prime Minister, Ali Mohammed Mujur even instructed the Interior Minister to file a report regarding her disappearance.
A local Rabbi said that she did not convert out of conviction insisting the conversion for the marriage be made void. The Yemeni Interior Ministry decide that they would, however, not look any further into the matter.
Yemeni Jews condemned the marriage considering the entire affair to be a “violation of all personal and religious rights.”