From time to time, the scandal of the abduction of Yemenite babies from the years 1948 through 1954 finds its way back into the headlines, leaving the entire country shaken and appalled all over again. It is happening again… but this time it will not end until all the classified documents from earlier investigations are open…
During the 1950s, Yemenite children were stolen from their parents’ arms in the State of Israel. This may sound bizarre, farfetched, and even unfathomable, but it is no longer questioned: It has been confirmed as fact. The State of Israel committed a crime against those children; their parents were told that they had died, while they were actually taken for adoption. In most cases, the children had been brought to a hospital or medical clinic for some reason, and they were taken from those facilities to be placed with the new families where they were raised.
Why were the parents silent? Actually, they weren’t silent at all. They screamed. They threatened. They pleaded. They wept. But no one listened to them. The Israeli government turned a deaf ear to their cries, hardening its heart to their anguish.
As for how such a thing could happen, we must turn back the clock to that period in the state’s history in order to understand it. The establishment viewed the Jewish immigrants from Yemen as a group that had emerged from the Middle Ages. In their view, the Jews of Yemen were primitives who adhered to a bizarre set of ancient traditions that had no relevance to the modern era. They felt that it was an act of kindness to those children to extricate them from a life of ignorance, poverty and backwardness, and to bring them up in an enlightened, progressive society. In short, the children were being given a chance for a good life. In most cases, they were given to well-established Ashkenazic families who were interested in adoption. The adoptive parents considered themselves highly privileged.
You can understand, then, that in addition to the actual abduction of the children, there was a campaign to tear them away from their religion. Children who had been born to Torah-observant parents were raised in secular homes, often on kibbutzim whose agenda was to deny everything about the past, creating a “new Jew” who had turned his back on the “golus mentality.”
THE BBC reported on this on June 21, 2017. Parents are now doing DNA to try and locate their lost children.