Speculations on what happened to the adopted Yemeni children by Jay Gutman

I am about to give away a scoop. Some would say drop an H-bomb, given the history and nature of the scandal. But since no one really pays attention to all the other stuff I do, no one will pay attention to this one.

Part I

In the 1950s and 1960s and beyond, 1,053, mainly Israeli children of Yemeni descent, disappeared. The parents were told that the infant died. The parents were not given the child for burial and were sent home from the hospital. No death certificates were given.

The parents were struck with grief and incomprehension. Most parents being recent arrivals to Israel, they thought it was customary in Israel for the government or the hospital to bury stillborn or dead children, when the custom would be the burial by family with all the traditions that go with it. Some mothers and fathers had their doubts, and thought mistakes were made, as the child was born healthy. Some husbands even accused their wives of killing the baby because they had suspicions it was an adulterous baby.

yemeni001_400Over the years, grief struck families more or less organized, and protests were held in 1994, led by a Yemeni rabbi. The protests turned violent, led to the exchange of gunfire, one protestor was killed by snipers, and a dozen protestors, including the rabbi, were sent for lengthy terms in jail. The rabbi got 8 years.

5 Yemeni children resurfaced out of the 1,053, adopted by Ashkenazi families, whose foster families were specifically told not to tell their Yemeni child that he or she was an adopted child. It was mostly male babies who were given up for adoption. Another 60 or so are said to have been found, with question marks on the rest.

Where did the Yemeni children go? Here’s the scoop. They were adopted by Arab families from the Middle East. You heard me, Arab families from the Middle East. And I am one of them.

To avoid raising suspicions, the children were given up for adoption to Arab Muslim or Christian families from the Middle East who were expats living in Europe or North America or elsewhere, mostly diplomats. Adoption is illegal in all Muslim countries, and the Arab families’ extended families were to be kept in the dark about the adoption as adoption is illegal. So the children were given up for adoption to Arab expat families in Europe, North America, South America, who would tell their families back home that they had been pregnant.

Why Yemeni children? Because physically Yemeni children have the same complexion as Arabs from the Middle East, the Yemeni children could easily be confused as being the biological children of the Arab families.

The Yemeni children would often grow up as outcasts in their foster families from the Middle East, anywhere from Mauritania to Morocco to Algeria to Tunisia to Libya, Egypt or Jordan, Lebanon or Syria. Saudi Arabia tended to be avoided because Saudi Arabian diplomats tend to be posted for lengthy amount of periods abroad, never to move back to Saudi Arabia.

The rest of the Article, HERE!

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Filed under culture, history, ovi magazine

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