Seventeen Yemenite Jews were onboard, some of the last of Yemen's dwindling Jewish population
escaping the war-torn country. They arrived under cover of darkness, wearing their traditional headscarves and speaking their native Arabic.
They boarded buses to the immigration center in Be'er Sheva in southern Israel, where family members who had already moved to Israel greeted them with a shower of hugs and kisses.
Sulaiman al-Dahari came with his family. His brothers and sisters. His children. His mother. The family lived far away from the civil war, Dahari said, but they escaped Yemen's crumbling economy.
"The situation there is mixed between fear and poverty. The economic situation is bad. I feel comfortable here in Israel," Dahari said. Even though he feels at home, he promised his journey has not ended.
"Of course, I will get back to Yemen, because my family and I love Yemen."
Tiny population grows even smaller
Dahari's family left a country that has become increasingly hostile to the small Jewish population in Yemen. Sectarian violence has torn the Gulf nation apart, and the country's Jewish population has fallen from a few hundred to a few dozen in recent years, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel, which tracks immigration to Israel.
Most of the remaining Jews live in a guarded government compound in the heart of rebel-held Sana'a.
"Now it is very, very hard. Very dangerous for them," said Zera Dehari, who left Yemen for the United States years ago. His cousins were among the latest group to leave Yemen. He flew to Israel to meet them.
"They're telling me it's very hard for them in Yemen now. I