400,000 ‘Yemenite children’ records accessible online

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inaugurated an online database today that gives the public full access to some 400,000 pages of
declassified documents that the state hopes will help bring closure to
the decades-long controversy known as the “Yemenite Children Affair.”The Times of Israel reports (with thanks: Sylvia):

“Today
we right a historic wrong,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony launching the
database. “For close to 60 years people did not know the fate of their
children, in a few minutes any person can access the pages containing
all the information that the government of Israel has.” 

This is “a brave and important act,” said
Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi, who was tasked by the
prime minister with overseeing an investigation into the affair and who gave the go-ahead for the declassification of the documents.

Since the 1950s, over 1, 000 families — mostly
immigrants from Yemen, but also dozens from the Balkans, North Africa
and other Middle Eastern countries — have alleged their children were
systematically kidnapped from Israeli hospitals and put up for adoption,
sometimes abroad.

Read article in full

Yemenite immigrants in a camp near Ein Shemer in 1950. (Pinn Hans/GPO)

7 Comments

  • Sadly this affiar comes back to David Ben-Gurion and his single minded obbession to remake the Land of Israel into a Modern secularized athestic Utopia.. Contrast Ben-Gurion attitude with his adversary Vladimir Jabotinsky in 1938:
    Jabotinsky tried to presudade the Jews of eastern Europe to go up to Israel:
    august 7, 1938 Jabotinsky to Polish Jews
    It is for three years that I have been calling on you, Jews of Poland, the glory of world Jewry, with an appeal. I have been ceaselessly warning you that the catastrophe is coming closer. My hair has turned white and I have aged in these years, because my heart is bleeding, for you, dear brothers and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spurt out the fire of destruction. I see a terrifying sight. The time is short in which one can still be saved. I know: you do not see, because you are bothered and rushing about with everyday worries … Listen to my remarks at the twelfth hour. For God’s sake: may each one save his life while there is still time. And time is short.
    I want to say one more thing to you on this day of the Ninth of Av: Those who will succeed to escape from the catastrophe will merit a moment of great Jewish joy — the rebirth and rise of a Jewish State. I do not know if I will earn that. My son, yes! I believe in this just as I am sure that tomorrow morning the sun will shine once again. I believe in this with total faith.
    After the Khristalnight pogram ; When England claimed to accept 10,000 German Jewish Children-
    Dec 7, 1938 Ben Gurion "If I knew it was possible to save all the children in Germany by taking them to England, and only half of the children by taking them to Eretz Israel, I would choose the second solution. For we must take into account not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel.”
    This remark by B-Gurion shows his mind set obbession for building a Modern State
    While he did once quote the Torah to support the Jewish people right to live in Israel…
    The treatment of the Yemenite Jewish refugees who would not give up the Torah to become socialy energized into modren Secularied Labor Jews and the unreported deaths of Yemenite Children the moral responibilty must be placed on Ben-gurion as a leader is resposnible for the actions of his suboronites..regardless of weather he knowns of them or not…it is also for the record that for 16 years Ben-gurion refused to fulfill Jabotinsk will that he be buried in Israel….{Although he had no objection to the reburial of Herzl and his family in Israel….}

    Reply
  • I strongly recommend reading The Tragedy and Shame of 1950s Israel’s Treatment of Yemenite Children by Seth J. Frantzman published in the Jerusalem post on 29th Dec 2016.

    Reply
  • What is known is there was no officially sanctioned systemic abduction of children.

    Any instances were carried out by individuals who perpetrated the most terrible crime against the parents and would have had to live with this on their conscience

    Reply
  • Yes that is the best way forward. We are following the story and whatever the findings turn out to be the blog will report them

    Reply
  • To betaween

    Perhaps there are two historic crimes: one of the kidnapping of the Yemenite children and the other is the refusal to release the said documents until now. It does not take much logic to believe that there is a conspiracy of sort. There have been many instances in the past where the blog vehemently rejected the allegations of kidnapping as unfounded, despite many Yemenites who were convinced of the conspiracy but did not have the facilities to produce irrefutable evidence. The position of the blog was not unbiased in its views. I will await the to see what the documents would divulge.

    Reply
  • not so fast , Emile, Netanyahu has approved the release of the documents but has not admitted a historic crime. Of course terrible things happened but the key point is whether there was a racket or some sort of conspiracy to abduct the children. If so, the authorities must be called to account, but someone needs to study the documentation in detail in order to reach a conclusion. This blog has nothing to apologise for, we merely summarise facts or make accessible certain points of view.

    Reply
  • Good to have Netanyahu admitting that a historic crime was committed. I seem to recall at Point of No Return an article claiming that Israel had properly investigated the Yemenite Babies issue and found the allegations to be grossly exaggerated with only 56 children involved. After this admission by Netanyahu an apology by Point of No Return is warranted.

    Reply

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This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

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