The Missing Yemenite Children / Doron A. Tal

The Missing Yemenite Children

Doron A. Tal

Herein outstanding reports about the mystery of the missing Yemenite children.  This directory is chronologically ordered, with respect to the reports as madepublically.  In particular, we feature here eleven outstanding articles written by a brilliant young (18) journalist, Yechiel A. Mann.

You too are invited to contribute to find the truth.

1. Hebrew Preface by webmaster and English articles by Yechiel A. Mann

The issue of the missing Yemenite and other Jewish children is well-known in Israel, but it is virtually unknown abroad.

2.  Was it the first time?

January 4, 1996, Arutz 7: For the first time, the Commission of Inquiry on the Kidnaping of Yemenite Children in the 1950's heard specific testimony concerning a Yemenite child that had been stolen from its parents and later identified by the them.

3.  Graves of Yemenite children to be opened in probe

JERUSALEM – Feb 16, 1996 – A state commission of inquiry investigating the disappearance of hundreds of Yemenite immigrant children during the 1950s has been authorized to open unmarked graves where the children were allegedly buried.

4.  Yemenite Children Seen Being Removed From Hospital

February 19, 1996, Arutz 7: The members of the Public Commission investigating the disappearance of the Yemenite Children heard the testimony of Mrs. Livnat Tzan'anitoday.  She testified that she saw children being taken out of the hospital wrapped in sheets and placed in ambulances. She further said that she remembers her sister being brought to the hospital in good health, and her parents being informed shortly afterwards that their daughter had died.

5.  Yemenite Children: The Truth?

October 15, 1996 – Minister of Health, Tzachi Hanegbi, has stated the government will order the opening of graves that are officially listed as graves of children of Yemenite backgrounds who died in the 1950's.

6.  Graves of `dead' Yemenite Jewish children found empty

ASSOCIATED PRESS JERUSALEM, Aug 17 1997: Investigators reportedly opened several graves of Yemenite Jewish babies and found them to be empty — a discovery that might support claims that Yemenite children were taken from their parents for adoption decades ago.

7.   Secrets and Lies The Missing Children of Yemen

Aug 26, 1997 – A California resident, Tsila Levine, is the daughter of Petah Tikvah resident Margalit Omessi, an Israeli of Yemenite descent.  Levine was apparently snatched from a Hadassah facility at a Yemenite transit camp in Israel when she was one month old.

8.  Time to come clean

Jerusalem Post © Aug 28, 1997: In the case of Margalit Omessi and Tsila Levine, it was not the Nazis that were to blame for their separation, but still-mysterious events that left dozens of Yemenite Jews, believing that their missing children were taken from them for adoption.

9.  Stones left unturned  

© Ha`aretz, Sep 7, 1997: As controversy rages over the fate of the Yemenite babies who went missing in the 1950s, Yigal Mashiach asks why the investigating committee has ignored the startling case of Rabbi Bernard Bergman.

10.  Missing Children Scandal  

by Naomi Segal of JTA:  A scandal involving missing Yemenite children has erupted in Israel.  During the chaotic time of Operation Magic Carpet, when Rosh Ha'Ayin was one of several transit camps for the Yemenites, many children allegedly disappeared. For decades, Yemenites in Israel have claimed that children they were told had died were actually adopted by Jewish families of European descent.

11. The Hearing  

by Yechiel A. Mann: Yechiel Mann reports from the Oct 13, 1997, hearing of Official Government Committee that investigated the disappearance of children in the years 1948-1954.

12. How can there be two answers?

© Ha`aretz, Oct 13, 1997: Is Margalit Omessi – the Yemenite woman whose daughter disappeared back in the early 1950s – really Tsilla Levine's mother?
Marit Slavin looks at forensic testing.

13.  The ABCs of DNA

© Ha`aretz, Oct 15, 1997: The process of DNA testing is very complex and would benefit from regulation.  But as Dalia Shehori reports, the efforts of one doctor to help the Health and Justice Ministries establish guidlelines were left languishing.

14.  Funding secured for DNA tests  

© Ha`aretz, Nov 27, 1997: Following a petition to Israeli High Court of Justice, the State of Israel will allocate NIS 400,000 funding DNA tests that were begun a year ago in an effort to locate missing Yemenite children.

15.  Hebrew Univ. admits Yemenite testing goof

JUDY SIEGEL – Jerusalem Post Service, Dec 12, 1997: The DNA test that certified Margalit Omessi was the mother of Sacramento resident Tzila Levine was incorrect, theHebrew University's genetics department now admits.  Hasan Khatib's analysis of the two women's DNA was given as "proof" that Omessi, whose daughter disappeared during Israel's early days of statehood, was the mother of Levine . . .

16.  Dead, but far from buried

© Ha`aretz, Dec 16, 1997: The issue of missing Yemenite babies was supposed to get a boost from a new kind of DNA testing.  But as Sarah Tsifroni reports, the tests only led to more suspicions and distrust – and now the bones of babies dug from Israeli graves are in England.

17.  The Empty Graves

by Yechiel A. Mann: Most of the parents were told that their children died, although these children were likely kidnapped by hospital staff and infant care workers. . . There was neither a death certificate, nor any proof of a death given. . . . there were no known graves.

18.  Was there a Cover Up?

by Yechiel A. Mann: Where are the bones?
Who is the liar – Sonia Millstein or Roza Kotzinski?
Was there a contradiction in Dr. Hiss testimony?

19.   Were the Children Sold?

by Yechiel A. Mann: Herein an outstanding excerpt from The NY Times as of December 1974, alleging about corruption in the Israeli National Religious party, Mafdal.  The shocking testimony of Rabbi Avidor Ha`Cohen may show that Children from Israel were likely "exported" to the United States for adoption and sold for about $5,000 each.

20.  Obstruction of The Truth

by Yechiel A. Mann: Ami Chovav was interviewed with respect to medical experiments allegedly conducted on Yemenite children hospitalized during the 50s. He had beganinvestigating this case in 1966 at the time when families with children who were reported dead, began receiving military summons for drafting into the IDF.

21.  The Hidden Scandal  

by Yechiel A. Mann: And there is a need to lend them a hand in finding their children – and the stealers of their children. Read the outstanding story of Yosef Aharon Hammami and his two wives, Kadia and Mazal. Rabbi Shlomo Korach searched his missing sister and niece, who were likely kidnapped. How had Yona Hovera lost her daughter?

22.  Their Grief Remains

by Yechiel A. Mann:

      * Her brother's body was never found.
* Although adopted at three months the court order referring to her adoption was issued only when she was eight years!
* Immediately after the birth, the doctor asked to buy one of her twins saying "but you have other children. . ."

23.  Says Lubavitcher Rebbe

 by Yechiel A. Mann: In addition to outstanding excerpts from the book "Hitvaaduyot" of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yechiel Mann refers to the very fact that even after the Shalgicommittee finished its job, none of the documents were catalogued. . . No way was found in Israel to track down missing children that had been likely kidnapped and sold for profit.

24.  Swept Under the Magic Carpet 

by Yechiel A. Mann: Operation "Magic Carpet" was initiated in 1949.  It brought approximately fifty thousand Yemenite Jews to Israel.  What happened to their children is the issue of a rally held May 5, 1998, by the "Mishkan Ohalim" in Jerusalem.  Herein an outstanding story of Dora Vachnun and Ester Meshulam.

25.  Margalit Omessi and Tzila Levine  

by Yechiel A. Mann: Margalit Omessi and Tzila Levine are convinced they are mother and daughter, as is the rest of their family.

26.  About The Yemenite Jewish Disapora

Demography, History, Communal and Religious Life, Aliya, etc.

Israel is setting up a genetic database after these adoption scandals with missing Yemenite babies in late 1940s and early 1950s.

27.             BMJ 315 (1997), 626;

28.             Nature 389 (1997), 322.


It is reasonable to believe that none of the Israeli governments was directly involved in the kidnapping of Yemenite children.  Some of the children really died, others were adopted with the apparent consent of their families, but many others were kidnapped by independent criminals.  Moreover most of these criminals were holding high ranked positions, and this enabled them to evade punishment.  Accordingly it makes the establishment quite liable (according to Israeli law).  Needless to say that had the babies been Ashkenazi, the investigation of their disappearance would have been held long ago, and without court orders.

  First published here