Israel will compensate the families of missing children

The government on Monday agreed to compensate families whose children have been deprived of immigration facilities in the early years of the state.

As many as 1050 children, mostly from Yemenite immigrant families, went missing, often after being taken to health clinics or hospitals for medical care.

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פרשת ילדי תימן

Yemenite immigrant mothers and their children in an immigrant facility clinic in the 1950s

(Photo: GPO)

Families were told their children had died but graves were never provided and no proof was given of their death.

Some families claim that the child has been abducted and witnesses who have shown over the years have shown that at least some of the children were raised for adoption in Israel or by Jewish families in the United Kingdom. United States.

Three scrutiny committees have looked into the matter over the years but none have produced final results. All three were heavily criticized for accepting claims that the children had died without further questioning. It was later discovered that many documents were destroyed or were never on their way to court.

A report in 2001 by the Kedmi Commission approved in 1995 by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made some progress.

He found that “69 out of 800 children have certainly not died, and what happened to them is unknown. Their parents took these children to hospitals or children’s facilities and they never returned. Some were taken by officers for medical treatment or hospitalization and never returned. “

The report concluded with the words: “This committee is saddened by the loss of the families.”

Many thought this statement was a confession by the state after officials denied it had been wrong for decades.

The government issued an official statement Monday expressing remorse for the events that “unfolded during the early years of the state and acknowledging the suffering of families who had their children as part of this painful saw. “

According to the government’s decision, each household will receive between NIS 150,000 and NIS 200,000 ($ 46,000 to $ 62,000).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed Education Minister Yoav Galant the story of the children introduced into school curricula.

“This is one of the worst chapters in the history of the country,” Netanyahu said, adding that all Israeli students need to know about the story. “Financial compensation cannot alleviate the unbearable pain these families have been going through but we must help them find some solace.”

Israeli Finance Minister Katz said that by voting to pay compensation, the Israeli government admits that children have been removed from their families, some of whom are still fighting through the courts to find answers. .

“We will help them find justice and begin to heal this historic injury,” Katz said.

Families of missing children can apply for compensation between June and November 2021.

Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who was responsible for finding and publishing documents relating to the events of the period, said after the decision that this was a step towards a solution. get over a problem that has not been ignored for decades.

“Many families had distrusted the governments over the years and had not gone to the various committees to look into the matter. We will now open the committee records to the public,” he said. Hanegbi.

Some families with children criticized the government.

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הפגנה בעקבות יום המודעות לחטיפת ילדי תימן בכיכר פריז בירושליםהפגנה בעקבות יום המודעות לחטיפת ילדי תימן בכיכר פריז בירושלים

Protesters in Jerusalem want answers about what happened to Yemeni children abducted in a demonstration in 2019

(Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

“I was deceived by the decision to give us money, they just want to bury the whole thing,” said Shoshana Yosef, whose brother Rafael passed away after being in the hospital.

“We want answers. We want to find out what happened to him. Where was he? The money is not worth my mother’s grief for all those long years,” she said.

Another family member said she preferred the truth to money.

“This is not an excuse,” Sara Damti said, “It’s a shame that governments still don’t understand the anger and pain that families have been feeling for generations.”