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Report indicts Israeli health staff in disappearance of Yemenite babies

A demonstration in support of Yemenite Jews whose children were reportedly abducted in the 1950's and calling upon the government to release archives that have been sealed during the past 70 years, in Tel Aviv on September 25, 2017 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images]
A demonstration in support of Yemenite Jews whose children were reportedly abducted in the 1950's, in Tel Aviv on September 25, 2017 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images]

The Israeli health system was involved in the disappearance of children of Yemeni descent in the 1950s for adoption by wealthy Israeli families, a report published by the Israeli daily, Haaretz, revealed on Thursday and reported by Anadolu News Agency.

Quoting a document compiled by the Israeli Health Ministry, not officially published so far, the newspaper stated that Israeli doctors, nurses and caregivers were involved "in taking the children and acting as middlemen in their adoptions, sometimes in exchange for money".

The report cited racist justifications for the taking away of the children from their biological parents such as "backward immigrants from Middle Eastern and North African countries" as well as alleging such taking of the children was in the "best interests of the children."

The issue known as the "Yemenite children affair", which has been hogging headlines in Israel over the past several years, refers to the disappearance of babies of Jewish immigrants who had arrived in Israel from Yemen.

Haaretz, however, said the report does not include testimonies or details or data on the scope of the phenomenon, yet, it is to be "the first official reference by a ministry" in the scandal that "haunted Israel for many decades."

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The officials – at the Health Ministry – who drafted the document have recommended action and "promote an apology on behalf of the health system for the involvement of medical professionals in this affair".

They have also asked for a one-time payment compensation to the families of the babies.

According to the newspaper, the document provided details about the ways the babies were taken away and then the biological parents informed of the death of their babies, without providing death certificates or details about the place of burial.

The newspaper added that the Israeli government has been working since February on a "reparation plan for the families of disappeared children" where the plan does not include official recognition of the case, but recognition of "the families' suffering".

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IsraelMiddle EastNewsYemen
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