Travel  A Trip to the Past
Photos: The unknown story of Yemen's Jews
Nadav Man
Published: 10.05.08, 09:00
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1. 10% of the Jewish population rallied in Jerusalem
observer   (05.10.08)
It was revealed that hundreds of children of immigrant Yemeni Jews were literally stolen from their Arabic-speaking parents for adoption by families of European Jewish origin, in an attempt to meld the Yemenis into what then was the European mainstream. In the years 1948-1954 thousands of Jewish children were taken, sometimes forcibly, from their biological parents while in hospitals or child-care homes. These children were taken to institutes and kibbutzim, and many were given out to adoption. The adopting parents not only changed the childrens names, but also their I.D. numbers, so they would not be able to be traced. These activities were carried out by doctors, nurses, social workers and other members of the Israeli establishment at that time. Their parents however were told that the children had died. In most cases, when the parents asked about the cause of death or requested a death certificate, or other documentation confirming the death of their children, they were ignored and their requests went unanswered. They never saw a body. In most cases, not even a burial spot. In a few cases, however, graves were shown to the families. Some of those graves, later on, were dug up by parents who did not believe that their beloved, healthy child truly died overnight. The graves were found empty. These children were not only Jews from Yemen, but also from other middle eastern and european countries. The number of kidnapped children has been told to be around 2,400 by the official investigating committees. Some people estimate the number to be as high as 10,000 missing children. Rabbi Uzi Meshulam gathered the names of 4,500 children. The information he collected over the years was confiscated by the government and he, together with some of his students, were sent to prison because of their activities. A high ranking Labor party official said that if this information had become public, it would mean the end of the Israeli establishment as we know it. After several years, Rabbi Meshulam was released from jail because of health problems, but with the condition that he and his students would not continue their investigation into the missing children affair. The main reason Jewish children were stolen from their parents, was to provide them with a non-Torah education. The ruling class saw Torah Law and Jewish traditions as primitive, and tried to erase this from the Jews. They created a large number of Jews who have no idea of what it means to be Jewish. They have never seen a Jewish prayer book.
2. #1 Lying is a bad habit observer
Lina ,   USA   (05.10.08)
I see no one on this site takes you seriously. How can they? Israel saved the lives of these people and no one was kidnapped. Thank you YNET for posting the photos and story.
3. #1, Poor dumb jealous observer
Jake   (05.11.08)
Jealous that impoverished Jews from Yemen were successfully integrated into Isaeli society, while Palestinian Arab refugees were deliberately kept in refugee camps as a tool to perpetuate the conlict. Poor dumb observer resorts to lying again, because he is afraid to look in the mirror. He is addicted to Israeli forums, because he is jealous. Poor thing.
4. observer, #1, it is Arab society that failed, not Israel
Jake   (05.11.08)
That's the truth that hurts.
5. #2 The stroy about the Yemenite Jews is true
Chaim   (05.11.08)
6. Fascinating Article
Yakov   (05.11.08)
While I've heard a few things about it, I've never seen the pictures of it. It is sad that so many lost the culture from where they came. It's a very high price to pay to be separated from family and everything that they know. II don't think they would do much better staying in Yemen, though, as its a really poort country. Even today, it's not very well off at all, especially compared to the other gulf states. They would eventually have to come to Israel--no question about it. It would not be acceptable to see our fellow Jews live in such terrible conditions. It's a major reason why we took the Ethiopian Jews out of Africa. Finally, I do hope that there is an info exchange on those who may be looking for relatives, whether still in Yemen, in Israel, or even in the Diaspora somewhere. Any of the remaining Yemenites who immigrated deserve to have the missing links filled.
7. #2 ignoring a problem will not solve it
observer   (05.10.08)
Those are public knowledge in Israel, most of it is unknown to Jews living in the diaspora. Every year, hundreds of articles are presented in the Israeli media refering to these issues. These involve serious social and economic problems in Israel. The first step in solving a problem is to be aware that the problem exists. Ignoring a problem will not solve it. Refusing to open your eyes to the truth will not make things better.
8. To Lina, #1 is right
Daniel Cohen ,   Israel   (05.10.08)
#1 is 100% accurate. I know, because my family was a victim of this affair.
9. Lina You Are Ignorant Of History
Yerach ,   Jerusalem,Israel   (05.10.08)
#1 is 100 correct & this a historical documented fact. The end result has been decades of tension,distrust & hate by many Sephardim/Eidot HaMizrach against the Ashkenazim for having their culture stolen by the Ashkenazi secular ruling elite. FYI,I am an Ashkenazi myself & have done research & have spoken to my wife's family who are Eidot HaMizrach & have they told me stories which confirm # 1 is correct.
10. #2-4, 8 Denying Well-Documented Facts
Paqid Yirmeyahu ,   Ra'anana, Israel   (05.11.08)
I pray at the largest Teimani Beit K'nesset (Moreshet Avot) here in Ra'anana. The basic facts of #1's account is fully documented and has been described several times in Israeli newspapers. Anyone can satisfy themselves simply by ordering the free archived documentation, including Israel newspaper articles, in the Archives section of our Convention Center in the website below: Teimanim, Abducted Babies (2001.11.05) Teimanim, Abducted Babies, DNA bank (2002.02.17) I'll be happy to ask my fellow members at Beit K'nesset Moreshet Avot if they can identify some of the people in these photos if the copyright holder will contact me (in English) via the Blogback section of our Convention Center in the website below and arrange to email the digitized photos to me to place in my website (in the History Museum => Teimanim section). Paqid Yirmeyahu Paqid 16, The Netzarim Israeli Orthodox Jew Advancing Logic as Halakhic Authority Welcoming Jews & non-Jews
11. Dora Vachnun: swept under the "Magic Carpet"
observer   (05.11.08)
When Esther entered the ward to stay with Mazal, a nurse yelled at her, told her to leave, and said that the families aren't permitted to stay with their babies. The next day, the family arrived at the cemetery to see a "body" that was not identified by anyone and hurriedly buried. One month after the "death" of Mazal, the family received a letter explaining that Mazal had died from a heart attack. Dora has been doing everything she can to try and find her sister. She has turned to the "Mishkan Ohalim" organization. Dr. Garfel, who made the death cirtificate of Mazal, is said to have been involved in other cases where children have been stolen. COVER UP : Later on, in response to this, a claim was issued by the Forensic labs that they then conducted a second series of tests, in chromosomichal DNA, which showed again, that Mrs. Levine and Mrs.Omessi are not mother and daughter. This is not to say they took another blood sample for these tests, or that these results were publicized either. It is crucial to remember that no records or results of the tests were given to anyone by the Forensic labs . . .just their final conclusion. Margalit Omessi and Tzila Levine are convinced they are mother and daughter, as is the rest of their family.
12. photo #1 : the poor brought their clay bricks
observer   (05.11.08)
Yemeni people have inherited building skills since ancient times, and construction seems to be in their life-blood. Apart from some demonstration projects, most new house construction is carried out on traditional lines, by private individuals. Construction methods have used thick walls and roofs, an advantage in ensuring that the heat of the day is "stored", allowing restitution at night, thereby providing a stable indoor temperature without any need for heating and air-conditioning. Thin walls of cement and sand blocks, supported by a reinforced concrete frame, are a total failure, making for structures insensitive to climate, and costly to maintain. This has become a standard solution in many places in tropical areas. So, where had been the Western model to help the Yemenite immigrants?
13. #1 Misrepresenting the Yemeni Jews
Lina ,   USA   (05.11.08)
Observer, care to share the origin of your cut and pasted "information"? Do you have some reliable, historically correct references? I found the information you posted on less than reliable sites such as and I prefer to hear the history of Yemeni Jews directly from the Yemeni Jews themselves or from respected historians. Several of my Israeli friends whose families came from Yemen grew up on kibbutzim because their families were poor and they could not provide for them. They were adopted into kibbutz families so they would feel at home on the kibbutz. This was not a legal adoption and they maintained contact with their families. My mother-in-law was a kibbutz mother for hundreds of children from various backgrounds who were raised on the kibbutz. If any of you have factual information of merit to support observer's claims, please post it. And if there are any Yemenite posters who wish to add their personal stories, please comment.
14. A subject little talked about - the missing children
Elaine   (05.11.08)
Google Missing Yemenite Children and, if you're not already familiar with this tragic story, you'll be heartbroken.
15. 1 - you sound like Barry Chamish...
16. My uncle worked in Op. Magic Carpet
M.O. ,   USA   (05.12.08)
My late uncle helped organize Operation Magic Carpet to rescue the Yemenite Jews and airlift them to Israel. They would have been killed had they remained in Yemen. I have read extensively on the subject and have many Yemenite friends - some well-known. I never heard or read anything about missing children. Operation Magic Carpet was a remarkable achievement by Israel to save an entire Jewish community.
17. Observer corrector, some confusing two events
Noam ,   Boca Raton, FL   (05.13.08)
This article is about the Jewish Agency's faciliation of Yehudei Teiman's aliyah in the 1940s and 1950s. It discsusses the activities within Adan (supposed to be Aden) until their arrival in Israel. Observer spoke about a later phenomenon, when Yemenites had already arrived in Israel and they were kidnapped by Ashkenasi secular elite. I took a summer course in Israeli politics and this Israeli academic Dr. Jonathan Dekiel-Chen confirmed this tragic sequence of kidnapping Yemenite children. He says that the Ashnkenasi responsible did hold elitisit views that denigrated Yemeni culture (which was the most agragrian and traditional of all Edot HaMizrah communities and thus argued by some to be the most "primitive") but felt that they were giving these children a better life with more educational and economic opportunities in the Ma'arborot transit camps. He didn't defend it, rather rationalized it. I feel strongly it was a disgusting, anti-Jewish practice and should be condemned and all should be done to reunite the victims with their families and possibly compensation. But it does not diminish the great efforts of the JA to help Yemenite Jews make aliyah, many of whom were facing very real violence and persecution by their Muslim neighbors and all who loved the land of Israel and the people of Israel tremendously
Dr Jason Fenton ,   Laguna Hills, CA USA   (05.20.08)
If this was part of Operation "Magic Carpet," which I presume it is, instead of just showing a plane standing by, you should have added one crucial element: the volunteer pilots, like Buddy Epstein, an American Jew and Robert Maguire, an Episcopalian who flew many of the 45,000 Yeminite Jews to Israel–an operation fraught with danger.
19. Yeminite Rescue Imperiled
andy ,   new york   (03.19.09)
Anthony Weiss writes today in the Forward about reports that the now, not so secret Yemen rescue of what few Jews are left in Yemen Secret Yemen Rescue Imperiled by Communal Turf Battles Leaks of Planned Operation Put Delicate Negotiations at Risk By Anthony Weiss Published March 19, 2009, issue of March 27, 2009. A secret and delicate operation to evacuate a substantial portion of Yemen’s tiny and beleaguered Jewish population has been thrust into public view and put at risk by infighting among rival Jewish organizations. In the wake of disclosures in the Israeli newspaper Maariv, the organizations involved are now accusing one another of endangering Jewish lives. The Jewish Agency, which has historically rescued Jews threatened by antisemitism and brought them to Israel, is locked in an apparent battle with a coalition of American Jewish organizations over the coalition’s operation to bring Yemeni Jews to the United States. The American coalition includes United Jewish Communities — one of the Jewish Agency’s main funders — and a leading figure in the Brooklyn-based Satmar Hasidic sect.
20. despicable
Benyamin Solomon ,   Brooklyn   (11.25.13)
The kidnapping of the Yeminite Jewish babies was one of the most despicable events ever. Those who were responsible belonged in jail, period.
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