Search

The Yemenite, Mizrahi and Balkan Children Affair

Updated: Mar 29

The Yemenite, Mizrahi and Balkan Children Affair is the kidnapping and disappearance of thousands of toddlers from families of new immigrants, mostly from Yemen, but also from other origins – around the founding of the State of Israel. The parents were told their children had died, but the babies were given to adoption in Israel and abroad, sometimes in return for large sums of money.


The Method

Immigrants Parents housed in transit and absorption camps were asked to give their children to nurseries or hospitals. Sometimes children were violently taken by social workers or nurses.

Parents were not allowed to stay with their children.

A few days later the parents were told that their child had died.

The parents never saw their child’s body and were not allowed to take their child to be buried.

In many cases, parents did not receive a death certificate.

A few dozen children were returned to their parents after the latter’s fierce protests.


The committees and the gag order

The affair came to light again when most of the families received IDF's draft orders for the "dead" children.

3 official inquiries were conducted by the state. At 1967, and 1984 there were 2 inter-ministerial joint committees of the Departments of Justice and Police. In the late ineties, was the official investigative committee established.


Later a gag order was placed on all the committee’s materials, until 2066.


The adoptees and the missing adoption flies

Aside to stories of children who went missing, there are many stories of adults discovered they are adopted, trying to locate their biological parents.

Its impossible for the adoptees to locate the biological family - adoption files do not exist, or exist but contain only partial records.

Families encounter similar problems: non-existent documents, incomplete records, forged signatures and procedures which block access to information.


The Amram Association

On June 21, 2013, Rabbi Uzi Meshulam who fought for the recognition and investigation of the Affair, passed away. Rabbi Meshulam paid a heavy price for his struggle.


The Amram Association has decided to regularly mark the day of his death as a day of awareness of the Affair.


The Amram Association collects testimonies into an archive they established which is accessible to the general public.


Struggles continues: demands & goals

  1. Official recognition of the affair of the children’s disappearance and it's racist background.

  2. A public investigation of the medical and scientific aspects of the affair.

  3. Adding the affair to secondary school curricula.

  4. Complete public transparency regarding the affair.

  5. Setting up a professional body for locating each of the children.

  6. Clearing the name of Rabbi Uzi Meshulam.

  7. Compensation for the victims.