Hundreds of protesters chant outside Netanyahu’s residence and block major thoroughfares in Jerusalem demanding recognition, reparations, and accountability for the abduction of Yemenite, Balkan, and Mizrahi children by state authorities between the late 1940s and the 1960s.
Roughly 200 people demonstrated outside of the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Thursday, calling on the government to officially acknowledge the state’s abduction of Yemenite, Mizrahi, and Balkan children between the late 1940s and 1960s. The protesters demanded the government open its records to public scrutiny and recognize the injustice done to the families from whom the children were taken and their communities.
Family members of abducted children read aloud heartbreaking testimonies and protesters shutdown several major thoroughfares in Jerusalem, chanting slogans such as “where are the children, open the files” and denouncing institutions such as the Women’s International Zionist Organization and Hadassah, which operated some of the institutions from which children were taken.
Parents who lost children, brothers who lost sisters, and members of the younger generation recounted similar stories of otherwise healthy children taken at hospitals by medical staff who claimed the children had died — but who refused to provide death certificates or return the children’s bodies for burial.
“They took the boy to the children’s house in Ein Shemer, and my mother would go there to nurse him,” recalled Melli Ya’acov, who said her brother had been abducted. “One day, she went to nurse him, and they told her he died.”
“She said, ‘it can’t be, I saw him, I hugged him, I played with him,” Ya’acov continued. “She was in shock. She and my father asked for the child to bury him, but they said, ‘we’ve already buried him.’ There was nothing, no child, no body. They abducted him, and since then we’ve been looking for him.”
“One day, 18 years later, we received an [army] draft order for a boy — I hadn’t even known,” she concluded. “It is my parents’ will to continue to look for the boy.”
Thursday marked the day of awareness for what is known as the Affair of the Children from Yemen, the Balkans, and the East. This was the second year in a row that family members of abducted children and organizations working on the issue held a protest in Jerusalem. They are demanding official recognition of the injustice and reparations, which will allow the decades-old wound carried by these...Read More