Yemenite child 'ordered' before he was born

Newly revealed documents shed new light on 'Yemenite children's affair' in the 1950s.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yemenite Jewish migrants head to Israel in 1949
Yemenite Jewish migrants head to Israel in 1949

The Yisrael Hayom newspaper presented documents which reveal new details in the 'Yemenite children affair' and appear to reinforce the claims that Yemenite newborns were taken from their families and given to other Israeli families during the 1950s.

In one case, a child was 'ordered before he was even born.

The paper presented a document sent in 1951 to the WIZO babies' home in Jerusalem on behalf of the Welfare Office, requesting that three children be taken from their parents on various health or social grounds, without a court order or other legal explanation. In this case it emerged that one of the three children in question was not yet born when the document was sent.

The newspaper also presented the testimony of a nanny named Tova Schlesinger at the Tel Aviv WIZO.

"We can not tell you anything about the WIZO adoptions, because they hid it from us in an unusual way," Schlesinger said. There was a room where the social worker transferred a child from my department to show him to the adoptive parents. There were children there who did not exactly look European, including Yemenite children. No one knew in the WIZO department where the children came from ... We asked and they did not tell us ... I happened to care for a certain child for a while and one day when I arrived the boy was not there. I asked and they said that he went home or that they came to get him ... We knew from the start that the King George WIZO had given him up."

Police documents show how the police explained the closure of files relating to complaints about the disappearance of the children. The newspaper reported that in a letter from the national police headquarters, dated August 1959, entitled "Search for children who disappeared," the deputy head of the criminal department of the police wrote: "We have ten cases that are almost identical ... So far we have not been able to locate the child in question. In our opinion, the cases are due to irregularities in the hospitals in 1950-1949 for the following reasons: The Yemenite babies hospitalized were mostly 'starving' and the treatment within a very short time in the hospitals changed their appearance so much that their parents were not at all aware. The Yemenites - we were informed by the knowledgeable - had a custom to pick up children and even buy them. It is very possible that the missing children were taken by other Yemenite immigrants. Under these circumstances, I see no real possibility of advancing the matter by further investigations, which in my opinion will add nothing."