Hanegbi: New Revelations in Yemenite Child Kidnappings Imminent

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister without Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi, of Likud. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Minister Tzachi Hanegbi. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Mossad has given permission to publish certain key details surrounding the wholesale kidnapping of children of Yemenite families, government minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Channel Two Wednesday night. Hanegbi has been assigned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to handle a revived government inquiry into the scandal of the missing children.

According to Hanegbi, Mossad and Shin Bet agents were involved in some of the cases that a special committee he heads has reviewed. Hanegbi did not specify how the agents were involved, nor did he say whether or not they were still active or even alive. However, he said that the agencies involved have given their consent to publish details of the agents’ involvement.

The scandal of the missing Yemenite children goes back to the early days of the state. In hundreds and even thousands of documented cases, Yemenite women who had given birth in state hospitals were told that their children had died in childbirth. The bodies were never recovered, however, leading many people to suspect that their babies had not died, but had been kidnapped.

The purpose of the alleged kidnapping has been the subject of many conspiracy theories, from supplying wealthy Israelis of European background who could not have their own children with babies to raise from birth, to allegations that the children were used as subjects in radiation experiments conducted by Israel at the behest of the U.S. government. Some parents claimed that they attempted to disinter the remains of their children to have them reburied at family plots, but were either told that the location of the graves had been “lost,” or that their child had been buried in mass graves and that it would be impossible to track down their child’s remains.

Governments throughout the years have either ignored or denied the allegations, claiming that the children died because of polio and other childhood diseases rife during the 1950s. At least four investigative committees have discussed the matter, but all ended their work without drawing specific conclusions.

Hanegbi said in the interview that a great deal of information had been uncovered in the latest investigation, but that there were still limitations on what could be revealed. However, he said he was confident that permission would be given to reveal the details, and that the committee had already prepared electronic documents that could be released via e-mail to the media immediately upon approval of the revelations, in order to ensure that all families affected by the kidnappings could receive information immediately.