Government declassifies records of the missing Yemenite children

'The time has come to reveal the records.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yemenite immigrants
Yemenite immigrants

The government opened an online archive on Wednesday, revealing some 3,500 files and 210 documents and records related to the disappearance of numerous Yemenite children during the early years of the State.

Between 1948 and 1952, it is alleged that hundreds of Yemenite children were taken from their new immigrant families while hospitalized for illness or immediately after their birth and given to Ashkenazi families to be raised. It was further alleged that this was done either for discriminatory reasons - out of a belief that Yemenite parents were not fit to raise children or that they did not care since they had large families, or for anti-religious reasons - out of a desire by the State to make the children secular. Childless couples, it is alleged, were given the children while the real parents were told that the child had died in hospital.

PM Netanyahu said upon the opening of the archives today: “Today we are fixing a historical injustice of ignoring, concealment, or discrimination. Everyone can now come to the 400,000 pages and see all the information that the government has on the matter.”

“For 60 years, people didn’t know what happened to those children. We are not willing to let this situation continue.”

Minister Ayelet Shaked, who was at the forefront of recent efforts to declassify government information on the matter, said: “This is an open wound for thousands of families, and the time has come to reveal the records. I turned to the PM and he immediately responded in the affirmative. There was much legal complexity during the whole process due to the numerous amounts of personal information.”

“Answers will not be given to all the questions. There was institutional involvement in the disappearance of children. Regarding 69 children, no evidence of their location has been found, and it is not possible to negate the possibility that they are with other families. In many of those files, it was obvious that details of children taken from their parents were changed and identity cards were blackened out so that it wouldn’t be possible to identify family origins,” she said.