Justice Minister Apologizes for Shabby Treatment of Yemenite Activist
For the first time, an Israeli government official has publicly acknowledged what she called the “damage” that was done to Rabbi Uzi Meshulam, who for years spoke out about missing Yemenite children. Speaking Motzoei Shabbos, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that “we now realize that evil was done to Rabbi Meshulam. Despite his urgings, the numerous study groups never investigated the matter in depth.”
Several months ago, the government opened its files on the missing Yemenite children, with revelations showing that the claims of activists like Meshulam – that the children were kidnapped and that their parents were lied to, with authorities claiming they died – were true. Going back to the 1970s, Meshulam held protests, sit-ins and marches on the claims, and was jailed numerous times for his activities.
The apex of the struggle between Meshulam and authorities came in 1994, when he and several followers barricaded themselves inside Meshulam’s Yehud home. A member of the group was killed in a subsequent police raid, and Meshulam and 11 of his followers were arrested. He was convicted of a number of crimes and sentenced to prison. The protest led to the first national committee to investigate the disappearance of the Yemenite children, but drew no conclusions. Meshulam was sentenced to eight years in prison but was released after five years after then-President Ezer Weizmann commuted his sentence. However, supporters claimed that Meshulam was mistreated and even tortured in prison, and he remained in ill health until he passed away in 2013 at the age of 60.
In a Hebrew article by Kipa news service it was reported that in June 2019 ( Sivan 5779 ) the Israeli Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel asked the incoming Justice Minister, Amir Ochana to use his authority to suggest to the President, to grant a posthumous pardon to Rabbi Uzi Meshullam.
Vilnagaon.org Does Not Have Verifiable Information How Many Kidnappings Took Place.
This web site has reported one kidnapping case that was proven by D.N.A. testing of two sisters, press on the link for details and is aware of a few other kidnappings that can be backed by D.N.A.
According to https://www.edut-amram.org/en/the-kidnappings/
In the early years of the State of Israel, and especially in the fifties, thousands of babies and toddlers disappeared from their families – families of immigrants who came to Israel and were housed in transit and absorption camps. About two-thirds of the children were from families of Yemenite immigrants. According to low estimates, in those years every eighth child of a Yemenite family disappeared. The remaining third of the children were from other Mizrachi families – Tunisian, Moroccan, Libyan, Iraqi and others – and a small number were children of families who immigrated from the Balkans. Thousands of testimonies by parents indicate a similar method: parents were asked to give their children to nurseries or hospitals under the pretext that there “they will be given more appropriate care.” Sometimes children were violently taken by social workers or nurses, placed in ambulances and forcibly transferred to these institutions. The parents were not allowed to stay with their children and were told to go home and to return only to breastfeed their babies. 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 or received it much later, retroactively. A few dozen children were returned to their parents after the latter’s fierce protests, but the fate of most of the children is unknown. Many appeals to law enforcement agencies, government offices and various officials were unsuccessful. The children were not located and proof of their deaths was not found. On the contrary: some of them were found years later in the bosom of other families.
The affair came to light again a few years later, when most of the families received draft orders from the IDF for the children pronounced as “dead.” Over the years, and only after strong public criticism, official inquiries were conducted by the state. The first was an inter-ministerial joint committee of the Departments of Justice and Police, which operated between 1967 and 1968 (the Bahlul- Minkowski Committee). The Shalgi Committee, which was defined as a committee of inquiry and operated between 1984 and 1988, was the second committee. Only in the late nineties, after the protest of the late Rabbi Uzi Meshulam was the official investigative committee established, and it published its findings in 2001. Later a gag order was placed on all the committee’s materials, until 2066. All the committees concluded that most of the babies had died, and that the fate of about a dozen babies is unknown. The fact that the important materials of the investigation remained inaccessible and confidential for another seventy years creates serious resentment.
The manner in which the investigation committee dismissed the children’s disappearance is deeply disturbing. The Committee found it necessary to note that in those years official records were improperly taken and were in evident disarray, in order to dismiss the records in which it was documented that the babies had not died. At the same time, it relied upon lists of infants’ deaths that were composed retroactively, and accepted such records as a credible and reliable source of information. The committee did not see fit to investigate why two important archives related to the affair were destroyed around the time this committee operated, and it was satisfied with the explanation that the archives were destroyed “by mistake.” Moreover, the Committee focused on examining the claim of “establishment kidnappings,” but did not consider that it is highly possible that the disappearance of the children was a phenomenon which took place in parallel channels, under the auspices of an indifferent establishment which looked the other way, rather than being a result of a direct instruction or an expressed intention of the establishment (for further reading see Prof. Boaz Sangero’s article – Hebrew).
Minister Tzachi Hanegbi Who Was Granted Access by Prime Minister Netanyahu 4 Years Ago To Confidential Documents On This Issue Revealed That Hundreds of Children Had Been Intentionally Stolen
At that time he was not willing to say if the Government Establishment Knew or did not Know about the crimes.
2 Years Ago The Secular Hebrew Maariv Internet Site Reported That The Olam Hazeh Newspaper Had Already Exposed the Scandal More Than 50 Years Ago But No One In The Government Was Moved To Take Significant Action to Right The Wrongdoing When the Crimes Were Still Fresh and More Repairable
In the Front Page of that Olam Hazeh Newspaper Article it was written:
“Scoop” The Shocking revelation of the year. The Yemenite Children were Sold To America. A Child for $5000
The newspaper went on to explain (in Hebrew, of course) that some of the abductors justified themselves by saying they were improving the living standards of the children by forcibly putting them up for adoption by primarily rich American families while only a small amount of them were put up for adoption by Israeli families within the State of Israel. When government agencies were pressured back then to answer how the Yemenite Children came to be adopted, they got away with saying that information was confidential.
The American Connection
In North America there is a severe shortage of children for adoption. To this hungry market there was suddenly offered a highly sought-after commodity: Jewish, healthy and nice babies from Israel itself.
The Middle Man was a well-known religious businessman, who even carries a rabbinic title, though his business is not always kosher. He is an American citizen, though he grew up and was educated in Jerusalem. He left the country in the 1930s, after his father became embroiled in a big scandal. This man announced that he could bring children for adoption. On account of his connections with religious political activists that at that time were appointed over all the stages of Aliya, registration, and absorption in the land, he had free access to all the camps of the immigrants and the agencies that dealt with the immigrants.
With the help of these connections he succeeded, not just in taking the babies out of the camp but also out of Israel.
How many of these crimes were officially sanctioned with the knowledge of these support agencies? Only he knows.
He did not complicate himself in such a terrible business for heaven’s sake, or for mercy on childless couples. He did it as a business: $ 5,000 for each baby. Cash payment, upon delivery.
The News Article Concluded 250 Babies Were Stolen
If one or two babies were spoken, one would think that it was a matter of a single crook. But it’s about 250 babies. Not a single person could secretly kidnap them and smuggle them out of the country. Logic requires that he had partners, or at the very least, people who knew and agreed to his actions. Not just people, but those in the official institutions, whether in the government, or in the Jewish Agency.
That may be why no serious investigation has been done so far. The members of the committee rightly had a bitter attitude regarding the discovery of the lost children: “When Yossele Shuhmachar was kidnapped, the entire state was turned upside down. Millions were spent. And to find 250 kidnapped children they are doing nothing? ” [Here Ends the Translated quotes from the Olam Hazeh article].
In Conclusion Vilnagaon.org does not have the information what were the exact numbers of babies that were stolen. Vilnagaon.org does not even have absolute proof who was involved and what were the motivations. For example, maybe the Olam Hazeh newspaper had an agenda to make a corrupt Rabbi or Rabbis as the center of the scandal?
One thing though is clear. There is enough evidence here to show that Rabbi Uzi Meshullam did not deserve to go to prison. He deserves honor for his attempt to correct a terrible crime. He suffered trying to help his fellow Jews to return to their families and spiritual heritage.