Israel approves exhumation of 17 bodies believed to be of missing Yemenite children

Israel has approved the exhumation of 17 remains believed to be of missing Yemenite children. The Israel State Attorney explained on Tuesday that the decision was a made “with attention to the public importance of discovering the truth” about the so-called Yemenite Children Affair.
The families of missing children Photo Credit: TPS

The Israel State Attorney’s office announced on Tuesday that it has approved the exhumation of 17 bodies for the purpose of DNA testing after a request was filed by the families of children who went missing between 1948 and 1970.

More than 1,000 families from Yemen, the Balkans and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region claim that their children went missing in the so-called Yemenite Children Affair, when babies were kidnapped from Israeli hospitals and put up for adoption without their parents’ consent or knowledge.

“The decision was made with attention to the public importance of discovering the truth in the matter of the death and burial of minors of Yemeni, Eastern and Balkan origin, whose families were informed of their death in the years after the state’s establishment,” the Israel State Attorney’s said in a statement.

Earlier this month, representatives from the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) attended a special discussion held by the Knesset’s Special Committee on the Affair of the Disappearance of Yemenite, Mizrahi and Balkan Children. During the discussion, evidence suggesting that WIZO was involved in the affair was presented. The evidence shows many children who went missing ended up at various WIZO orphanages without any information about their birth or parents.

WIZO Director Sarit Arbel said at the time that her organization will fully cooperate with the special Knesset committee. She also said that all documents and files related to the children under question will be sent over to the committee members, who will also have full access to the organization’s archives. It is believed that the records will help the committee investigate the affair and bring peace to the families whose loved ones went missing.

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