State Negotiating With Yemenite Families Over Missing Children

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Israeli government is reportedly in the final stages of negotiations with Yemenite families whose children went missing in the 1950s to formally acknowledge the injustice done to them, which has been denied by the State until now, Kan news reported.

The families have claimed that their children did not die in hospitals, as was claimed, but were in fact systematically kidnapped and given away or sold to Ashkenazi families without the consent of their actual parents.

However, according to the report, a demand for compensation, which the government has so far refused, have been keeping the sides from reaching an agreement.

The negotiations have been led by Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister’s Bureau Yoav Horowitz following a release of some 400,000 pages of documents a year ago, related to the fate of the missing children.

“It is difficult to believe that for almost 70 years, people did not know what happened to their children,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time. “And as difficult as the reality may be, we are not willing for this to continue.”

In June 2017, Netanyahu appointed Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi to reexamine the evidence in the three previous inquiries, and in November 2017 the cabinet decided to release the classified documents. This decision overturned a 2001 decision to seal the documents until 2071.

Previous commissions of inquiry — in 1967, 1988, and 1995 — had determined that most of the children had died in hospital and absolved the State of responsibility. But the families rejected those findings as a whitewash and persevered in trying to track down their children and bring government and health officials to account.

Spokespersons for the prime minister and the Justice Ministry, also involved in the case, would not comment.