Israel News | Yemeni Jews

Israeli agency ends decades-long operation airlifting Yemeni Jews to Israel
  • 19 refugees and a 500-year-old Torah scroll were the last to be flown to Israel from Yemen as anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence has increased following the seizure of the Yemeni capital by Houthi rebels in 2014.
  • Through the covert mission, Israel’s Jewish Agency sought to provide refuge for Yemen’s small but millenia-old Jewish community, transporting tens of thousands to the country beginning in 1949.
  • The immigration mission took place over decades, leaving only 50 Jews in Yemen, 40 of whom are under the embattled government’s protection.

Read more:
17 Yemenite Jews secretly airlifted to Israel in end to ‘historic mission’” (The Times of Israel)
Israel flies in 19 Yemeni Jews, ending immigration mission” (Reuters)
19 Yemeni Jews Arrive in Israel, Ending Secret Rescue Operation” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)

U.S. News | Hispanic/Latino

Latino immigrants flock to naturalization campaigns across the U.S. ahead of November elections
  • Naturalization applications increased by 14.5% between June and December 2015 over the same period in 2014, with some analysts attributing part of the influx to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates.
  • Of the 8.8 million authorized residents eligible for naturalization, an estimated 3.9 to 4.5 million are Latino, but hefty costs deter many from gaining citizenship.
  • Mexican immigrants in particular are under-naturalized, with only 36% of eligible immigrants having become citizens, leading to drives in states like Colorado, Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Nevada to promote naturalization among the remaining 2.7 million.

Read more:
Latinos line up to get naturalized and stop Trump” (CNN)
More Latinos Seek Citizenship to Vote Against Trump” (The New York Times)
In Citizenship Drives, Latinos Sign Up to Vote Against Trump” (Vibe)

(Image Credit: Theo Stroomer/The New York Times)

Japan Research | Ainu

Japan’s Ethnic Discrimination Perception Gap

Two government studies have revealed discrepancies in perception of discrimination against the Ainu, an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido and nearby islands. Ainu individuals report experiencing inequality and discrimination at higher levels than non-Ainu Japanese recognize. While the Japanese government has long pursued assimilationist policies towards ethnic groups in areas taken over through centuries of imperialist expansion, in recent years, the government has officially recognized the Ainu as an indigenous group and planned to promote its cultural visibility. The surveys represent the first state-level research on public perception of Ainu Japanese.

72.1% (Ainu) vs. 17.9% (non-Ainu)

Percentage of respondents who believe anti-Ainu discrimination and prejudice persist

19.1% (Ainu) vs. 50.7% (non-Ainu)

Percentage of respondents who believe little to no anti-Ainu discrimination and prejudice persist


Percentage of non-Ainu respondents reporting having never encountered an Ainu person or Ainu culture


Percentage of Ainu respondents reporting having friends and family who have experienced discrimination


Percentage of Ainu respondents reporting having experienced discrimination directly


Percentage of those who have experienced direct discrimination reporting opposition to their marriage or relationships from their non-Ainu partner’s family


Percentage of those who have experienced direct discrimination reporting discomfort due to discrimination in the workplace

Survey response:
707/1,000 (Ainu)
1,727/3,000 (non-Ainu)

Read more:
Discrimination of Ainu persists; Japanese people largely unaware” (Japan Today)
72% of indigenous Ainu sense discrimination 18% of mainstream Japanese are ignorant of: surveys” (The Japan Times)

Additional reading:
Everything you wanted to know about the Ainu, with photos and video” (RocketNews24)

(Image Credit: via The Japan Times)

Indonesia Research & Feature | Mental Illness

Disrupted Minds, Shackled Bodies

Despite its criminalization, the practice of pasung, the physical shackling of people with mental illness, has continued throughout Indonesia, with an estimated 18,000 subjected to the imprisonment according to a new Human Rights Watch report. Families in the poor, rural regions of the Muslim-majority nation often turn to faith-healers and other pseudoscientific practices as mental health services are severely lacking throughout the country. Psychological and social divergence from societal norms are conflated as disruptions to community relations land “violators” in squalor in Indonesia’s poorly maintained mental hospitals.

Read more:
Living in Hell (Human Rights Watch)

Thousands of Mentally Ill Indonesians Are Imprisoned in Shackles, Report Says” (TIME)
Indonesia’s mentally ill languish in shackles” (AFP via Yahoo! News)
‘Living in hell’: mentally ill people in Indonesia chained and confined” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: via Yahoo! News)