Healing a 70-year-old wound: On the disappearance of Yemenite children

The Knesset’s Special Committee on the Disappearance of Yemenite and Balkan Children has reunited three families, and urges adopted Jewish children outside of Israel to make contact

The “Yemenite Children’s Affair,” the disappearance of babies and toddlers from Yemeni and other immigrant families in the early years of the state, has been an open wound for many Israelis for the past 70 years. Families were told their child died, in many cases without seeing the body or a place of burial and without receiving a death certificate, and some came to believe the children were, in fact, kidnapped and adopted by Ashkenazi families.

After government inquiries in 1967, 1988 and 1995, the government concluded that there was no illicit adoption plot, and in the majority of cases children really did die, though some were victims of gross medical negligence, and bureaucratic abuses – such as having children buried before parents were informed – were rampant. Still, many questions remain, and Likud MK Nurit Koren has been on the case since she entered the Knesset in 201

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