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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Yemenite Jews’

Knesset Committee to Declassify Evidence Related to Alleged Yemenite Child Abductions

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

by Andrew Friedman

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee agreed Tuesday to open protocols of a state commission of inquiry into accusations that up to 5,000 Yemenite and Sephardic children were abducted by the state during the early years of Israel’s independence and adopted by Ashkenazi (European) families. The material to be released includes previously classified hearing protocols and evidence that was given in closed-door hearings before the Kedmi Commission in 2001.

MK Nurit Koren, chairwoman of the Knesset committee, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that today’s decision would afford individuals and family members the opportunity to obtain details about family members they believe were stolen two generations ago and to make contact between long-lost relatives. She also acknowledged that the move was only one step in a long road towards healing one of Israel’s longest-standing open wounds.

“This is really just the first significant stage in dealing with the issue, but it’s a critical one,” Koren said. “The Kedmi Commission, in the late 1990s, sealed its findings and all the evidence presented to it for 70 years. But less than 20 years later, we’ve managed to open up those findings for the entire Israeli public to look at.

“Now, the real work begins. We expect the prime minister to sign the decision into law this week, and then we can begin studying more than 400,000 documents. I am also going to establish a special parliamentary commission of inquiry to continue dealing with the issue, perhaps as early as next week,” Koren said.

Koren also said she has tabled two legislative initiatives to streamline the investigative process: One to allow families to request access to adoption files in certain circumstances (current law permits access only to adopted children themselves), and one to grant immunity to any current or former official who comes forward to admit participation or cooperation with removing children from their biological families against the parents’ will.

Yemenite activists praised the decision, but also added that the move was not sufficient to put the bitter history behind them, if for no other reason than the sheer scale of the scandal: From Yemen alone, more than 950 of the 5824 children aged 0-4 who arrived in Israel from 1948-56 were taken – a ratio of more than one out of every six.

They also said that the decision to declassify information is an important move towards reconciliation efforts with the State, but also stressed that no move would be sufficient without a formal, official apology.

“First of all, we need recognition,” said Shlomi Hatuka, “Official, formal recognition, not something by-the-by. That would not only be the first step towards true reconciliation and healing for our community, but it would also greatly expand the possibilities to search for missing children by opening up adoption records, immigration records and more.”

It’s a story that touches Hatuka personally: He said his grandmother came from Yemen to Israel in 1949, gave birth in 1953 to two healthy twins. But as the family already had 8 children at home (his grandmother had given brith to three babies, in addition to her husband’s five children by previous marriage), hospital officials in Petah Tikva asked if she would be willing to give the kids up for adoption. She declined, but four days later she was told that the baby had died of a mysterious disease.

“What do you need 10 kids at home for?” Hatuka recalls his grandmother’s recounting of the story. “A little while later they came to me and said the baby had died. But they wouldn’t let us see the body. No body, no grave, nothing.

“She never got over it. Up until she died about 15 years ago, she spoke about her missing daughter, dreamt about her, wondered what her life had become. It’s a shame that she never lived to gain any closure on the issue, but it’s essential that we deal with this issue, for current and future generations,” Hatuka said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jews Return to City of David Complex after 77 Years

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Jewish families and yeshiva students moved into a large complex in the old Yemenite community in the Silwan Valley in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning, reclining another Jewish-owned property that was abandoned when the British expelled Jews in the 1930s.

The move, backed by the court that ordered eviction notices to Arab squatters, was made during the middle of the night in order not provoke friction with Arab neighbors.

The building, near the City of David across the street from the Western Wall plaza and located near other structures that have been bought by Jews in the old Yemenite Village, now is called Beit Rachel. It is a few minutes by foot from the recently redeemed sections of the original Yemenite Beit Knesset- Ohel Shlomo-Heichal Yonatan, named for Jonathan Pollard.

The original synagogue is one of the few buildings that remains in its entirety. It was one of the first buildings established in the Village by Yemenite Jews in 1885, who arrived in Jerusalem three years earlier before nay Arabs were living in the Silwan neighborhood.

Following Arab pogroms of 1936-37, the synagogue was defiled, desecrated and many holy books were burnt despite British promises to protect the holy Jewish site.

Arabs squatted in the old synagogue and in other buildings, including privately owned Yemenite homes.

In August 1938, the British Authorities removed the last remaining 35-40 Yemenite Jewish families who had managed to survive many years of attacks by Arabs in riots and pogroms.

The British High Commissioner on behalf of the British Government gave written assurances that the Jews would be able to return “shortly” to their homes but by the early 1940s,  Arabs had literally taken apart buildings and had stolen floor tiles, roof tiles, taps, building stones, window and door frames.





Jewish Press Staff

Saving the Druze, Understanding BDS

Thursday, June 18th, 2015


Yishai delves into various aspects of Israeli Justice. First, he is joined by Knesset insider Jeremy Saltan, to talk about Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s offensive against boycotts.

Then, Yishai is joined by Dr. Mordechai Kedar, research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and lecturer in the department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, to discuss the Druze community in Syria. It is in grave danger from jihadists on the slaughter. But Israel have a moral responsibility to protect them, because of their literal and figurative brothers and sisters in Israel who are loyal to the state?

Then, Yishai is joined by Israeli journalist and author Ben Dror Yemini, who says that though many people think that BDS is an organization or a movement, they’re wrong. It’s an atmosphere, Yemini asserts. It’s an “evil spirit,” not criticism of the occupation or settlements.

Finally, Yishai hears from VOI Bureau Chief Daniel Seaman the tale of his grandparents’ burial on the Mount of Olives.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

The Collective Jew

Monday, August 19th, 2013
I keep trying to make this point to show what I believe is the unique Israel. In the last few weeks, three incidents have happened that once again reinforce what I have known all my life. Am I wrong to believe there is no other country in the world that would do these things?

Here’s the first amazing story:

A young cancer patient on the way to the US with a bunch of other sick kids can’t find her passport.

With no other choice, the young girl was removed from the plane and the plane prepared to depart after a fruitless search on the plane, in the airport, everywhere. Minutes before takeoff, while the plane was taxiing to the runway, they found the passport in another child’s backpack.

Too late, no? The stewardess told the pilot – the pilot radioed the tower and was given permission to turn back. The story appears here.

As the child cried, so too did people on the plane – and the stewardesses, and people on the ground. Amazing.

And the second story…

David Finti is 19 years old. He is a Romanian Jew. While boarding a train, David was electrocuted and severely burned. The local Jewish community contacted the Jewish Agency. They recognize the collectivism of our people just as on the Israeli side it was recognized as well. And so, Israel flew the young man to Israel, making him an Israeli citizen so that he could get critical care free of charge. David and his parents were flown to Israel and are now at Hadassah’s Ein Kerem hospital. The story appears here.

Yet another story in the last few days has come to light. Israel recently managed to bring in another 17 Yemenite Jews – leaving 90 left.What amazes me is that we were able to bring another group here to Israel and more, that we know how many remain. We are watching, waiting, hoping to bring the last remnants of what was once a great community here to Israel.

It is what we do. Three stories of how Israel watches, Israel waits, Israel acts.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/the-collective-jew/2013/08/19/

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