Classified info about lost Yemenite children to be released

Government to release material regarding the 'Yemenite Children Affair' from early days of state that could finally put the matter to rest.

Hezki Baruch ,

Children in absorption camp,1949
Children in absorption camp,1949

The government approved today the release of material from the governmental investigative committee regarding the disappearance between 1948 and 1954 of children who had immigrated to Israel from Yemen.

Allegations have been circling for many decades that, in the early years of the State of Israel, many children of Yemenite families were taken from their parents and given to Ashkenazi families, with the parent then being told that their child had died. It is further alleged that this was done either for racist reasons - a belief that Yemenite parents are not fit to raise children - or anti-religious reasons - a desire by the state to make the children secular.

The government approval today comes after demands last May from Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and MK Nurit Cohen to the PM that he appoint a Minister to get to the bottom of the saga once and for all. Netanyahu appointed MK Tzahi Hanegbi to investigate the issue.

Now, after investigations have come to a close, the government has voted to release classified material of the Cohen-Kedmi Committee dating from 2001.

Between 1995 and 2001, this Committee had conducted detailed research on the matter; however, it was concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the conclusion that these kidnappings did indeed occur. Nevertheless, many documents were then classified and hidden from the public.

Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel said that the approval of the government to release the information was doing justice to history. “I requested from the government to take action and call on [Yemenite children] born in those years to take a subsidized DNA test - and thus aid in the reunion of families.”