The details of the State Inquiry Commission into the Yemenite children affair, the mysterious disappearance of hundreds of Yemenite babies and toddlers between 1948 and 1954, are to be published within the coming months, according to a Yedioth Ahronoth senior legal source.
The publication will als be accompanied by the activities of the various ad hoc government committees set up to investigate the affair.
However, the families who have been awaiting answers about the fate of their loved ones for many years are far from solving the mystery as the personal information relating to the missing individuals will not be published.
According to the senior legal source, due to public pressure "this train has already left the station," and it is believed that Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Tzahi Hanegbi, appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will recommend that the government remove most of the confidentiality.
On Tuesday it was made clear that in the coming months Hanegbi would have to read over 1.5 million documents relating to the affair, in order to consolidate his recommendation to the government.
A senior legal source said on Tuesday that since the publishing of the minutes pose no risk to Israel's foreign relations and has no connection to Israel's national security, the two main criteria that will be taken into account are the public interest and the need to remove any personal information, revealing the names of children, or where they were sent so as to protect their right to privacy.
In any event, in cases in which it can be proved that children were put up for adoption, it will not be possible to publish the details since they are subject to strict confidentiality protecting those who were then children and their adoptive families. On the other hand, any information, evidence or documents attesting to a "method" of concealing the whereabouts of children must be published.
Those who assisted in kidnappings would be eligible, prior to the publication of incriminating evidence, to have a hearing. It was further clarified Tuesday that the Attorney General would also have to give his approval, ahead of the publication, to the unusual procedure, which is expected to be dealt with by the High Court as well.
Developments in the case came about Tuesday after the The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee deliberated over whether to publish the protocols of the Kedmi Committee, charged with investigating the Yemenite children affair. The Knesset membes provided unanimous consensus about the need to publish the hidden protocols.
The struggle, led by Nurit Koren (Likud), focuses on the demand that the material collected by the Kedmi Committee in the 1990s be published. Neverheless, a governmental order decreed that the committee's minutes remain classifed until 2071, a decision that can only be overturned by way of a government decision.
Dr. Yaakov Lazovic, from the Israel State Archives, said that the committee's work consists of more than a illion pages. "I personally, and the organization, would be very happy to disclose everything, but we work within the legal framework," Lazovic said. "The law imposes two restrictions: first, by virtue of the archives law and the second is the privacy law."
According to him, the government bears the legal authority to order the archives to declassify the material and thus circumvent the restrictions of the archives law. However, the government cannot allow the publication of material pertaining to individuals due to the privacy law. "We have to check what materials are there. If we get permission it will take us days to go through the material, and everywhere there is a person's name, it will have to be crossed out. There are more than 3,500 cases. I estimate this will involve 1000 days of work."
Following heavy pressure, Netanyahu published a video Tuesday supporting the struggle of the families affected by the affair saying, "The subject of the Yemenite children is an open wound that continues to bleed for many families who don’t know what happened to the infants, to the children who disappeared. They’re seeking the truth and want to know what happened and I think it's time to know and to achieve justice. Therefore, this lobby is important. Until this very moment I do not understand why there is confidentiality. We will review it and take care of it with your help."