‘Yemenite Children Affair’ report made available online
The report from the Kedmi Committee, which looked into the disappearances of children of Jewish Yemenite immigrants between 1948–1954, is now accessible online; the report contains ‘disturbing information on the ease with which infants were hospitalized without supervision, documentation and at times without allowing family members to visit.’
An online version of the Kedmi Committee’s official report on the disappearances of children of Yemenite immigrants was published on Thursday.
The report was initially released in 2001, but was made available online via the National Library’s website following a more recent public demand to have access to the committee’s confidential protocols, as well. Despite the public outcry, the protocols themselves will remain sealed by government decree for several more decades, until the year 2071.
Nevertheless, the report that has been made public contains several disturbing cases. One such recorded incident describes “A mother who had made aliyah while eight months pregnant, who gave birth to her son in a tent for fear that he would be kidnapped. At the request of the father, the boy, named Yair, was brought to the nursery at camp to be circumcised, where he disappeared. The parents were told that he had died, and when they insisted on being shown the body, they were presented with the body of a 16-year-old. They never got to see their son’s body.”
The committee, headed by Judge Jacob Kedmi, did not find a factual basis to verify the systematic and organized kidnapping of the children. It did, however, find several cases where children were given up for adoption without the parents’ knowledge or consent. Regarding such cases, the committee accepted the claim that the children given up for adoption were living in institutions without any connection to their birth parents.
The National Library stated that the report unearthed important and disturbing information on “the ease with which infants were hospitalized without supervision, documentation and at times without allowing family members to visit.” Among other points, the committee described how many children were buried without the notification of their parents.
Though the committee stated that in certain cases the records in its possession “clearly show that the child had passed away,” it admitted that it “lacks any information that could point to a cause of death, date of death or place of burial.”