Monday, January 19, 2015

Yemenite babies: neglect yes, plot no

 The tragic story of the vanished Yemenite babies of the 1950s  has reared its ugly head once more in  this +972 magazine article reprinted from Haokets. While the authorities can be accused of negligence and callousness, it is harder to find evidence of a conspiracy to 'steal' children from their parents. Pedro X, whose comment I am reproducing below, provides additional truths the article omits. Another commenter asks why more of these 'orphaned' children have not come forward to identify themselves.

"The baby in the photo is younger than my Abigail. His name is Rafael – a tiny baby, seen here in his mother’s arms. She wandered from Damascus to Beirut and onto the shores of the promised land, before being placed in a tent in the Beit Lyd transit camp. Rafael is my mother’s younger brother. She traveled this long route along with him in a sailboat when she was one-and-a-half years old. Grandfather Mordecai wrote in his diary about what had happened to them when they arrived at the immigrant camp:

“One of the nights a horrible wind was blowing, and rain came pouring from the sky. The small children who slept with us in the tents became sick with colds, diarrhea and fever. The smallest one, five-month-old Rafael, got stomach poisoning, and so we went to Tel Aviv and took him to the government hospital in Jaffa, where he returned his pure and innocent spirit to God in the morning light of Tuesday, 13/9/49.”

"In Donolo Hospital they wouldn’t let my grandfather see his son’s body nor his place of burial. They also refused to provide him a death certificate."

Read article in full 

 Pedro X comments: Haokets and these so called activists are not telling the whole story. Between 1967 and 2001 Israel held three commissions and one public inquiry into the issue. The 1967 commission found two cases of children having been adopted. 316 died for sure and in 24 cases no conclusions could be agreed upon. The public inquiry which reported its findings in 2001 found that out of 800 cases examined it was certain that 733 of these children died. No conclusions could be reached for 56 children.
   Ami Hovav, an investigator who served on two earlier official commissions that examined the fate of the Yemenite babies, said that out of 650 cases of babies reported missing by their parents, 80 had not been solved. Records showed that a few dozen who were put up for adoption when their parents could not be traced. He explained that frequent mix-ups occurred when babies were transferred to and from nurseries and hospitals resulting in medical institutions being unable to trace the parents of the children.
   The New York Times in an 1999 article quoted Dov Levitan of Bar-Ilan University, an expert on the Yemenite immigrants, to state that there was “no evidence of an organized conspiracy to spirit away Yemenite children for adoption."... “there was a condescending attitude toward the new arrivals that led to carelessness in tracking down children and their parents….There was disregard for the parents, an unwillingness to make the effort to investigate, but not a conspiracy.”

Desperately seeking mum and dad

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