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June 26, 2016 5:38 am

Yemenite Children Were Never Kidnapped in Israel

avatar by Steven Plaut

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Uzi Meshulam. Photo: Haifa Film Festival screen shot.

Uzi Meshulam. Photo: Haifa Film Festival screen shot.

Every few years Israel is convulsed in “kidnapped Yemenite children” hysteria, and this summer is just the latest round. The ruckus concerns allegations that Yemenite children in the 1950s were kidnapped from their parents by racist Ashkenazim, five years after the Holocaust, “sold” in a giant conspiracy and put up for illegal adoption.

This year, as usual, demagogue politicians are joining the calls for yet another state commission of inquiry into the matter, trying to make political hay. There have been several commissions already. Journalists from the far Left, the far Right, and the far-out Center are trying to build careers out of it all.

Large numbers of the Israeli public, not limited to Yemenites, believe the conspiracy tales. Not as many as Americans who believe in UFOs or a JFK conspiracy, but nevertheless alarming.

There is just one little problem with the “theory.” It is nonsense.

There were never any kidnapped Yemenite children in Israel. There were no illegal adoptions of Yemenite children. There was no conspiracy.

Before arriving in Israel, infant/child mortality in Yemen was probably the worst in the world. Well over 60% of infants died. Much like in the days of the Talmud. In halakha an infant death or NAFAL is not death at all and there is no shiva.

The deaths did not suddenly halt when the Yemenite Jews got off the planes in Israel. Israel at the time was a Third World mess. Much of the population was in Maabara transit camps. The roads were mud. Almost no Israelis had phones and many had no bathroom or kitchen.

Hospital record keeping was poor and hospital care not much better. The country’s attention was elsewhere, in things like finding food. People who did not know Hebrew could not communicate with one another. And the mess was not just in the hospitals. Large numbers of soldiers had died in the War of Independence, without their identities ever being recorded and known. The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics was not founded until 1949 and in the 1980s was still located in asbestos shacks without computers

Under these circumstances, infants died, corpses were misplaced, parents were not kept fully informed, parents imagined being persecuted. To put things into proportion, in 21st century USA with all the computers, corpses also disappear from hospitals all the time.

Why did the hospital not simply call the Yemenite parents when an infant died? Because the hospital had no phone, the parents had no phone, lived in a tent, did not speak Hebrew, and the mail did not work — it still does not.

Since the 1950s, every state commission — there have been at least three — has ruled there is no hard evidence of any kidnappings.

None will ever settle the matter for the conspiracy nuts, because they will always demand yet another investigation.

The people demanding new investigations now are exactly like the 911-truthers and the people seeking evidence of a Jewish cabal to control the world.

The fact that “a lot of people” think something is true does not make it true. Sixty-five years of “searching” have already gone by. Multiple state commissions of inquiry. Highest of high-tech available. And not a single proven case of a “kidnapped” Yemenite child ever found — or even of an illicit adoption. Where are all the Yemenite-looking Ashkenazim in Scarsdale and how come none ever asked about being adopted? None. Conclusion?

Supposedly “hundreds” of “kidnapped” Yemenite children were “sold.” Yet, sixty-five years later and not a single one of the sold ever went searching for his or her biological family.


Now just suppose that the main advocate of a theory, any theory, were a certifiably deranged stockpiler of assault weapons planning mass murder and attacks on the Israeli police. What would be your conclusion about his theory?

Well, meet the leading advocate of the “theory” of the kidnapped Yemenite children: the late Uzi Meshulam. A certified lunatic and terrorist. He led the drive to (re-) investigate once again the “disappearances.”

His fans — conspiracy nuts still beating the dead old horse about “kidnapped” Yemenite children — are not nutty enough for you?

Well let us introduce you to Ami Meshulam, son of Uzi Meshulam. He is all over the media in Israel this week as the “conspiracy” fiction gets retold ad nauseam. Meshulam the Younger goes way beyond what his whack-job pappy said. According to Ami, “thousands” of Yemenite children were rounded up in Israel in the 1950s by an Ashkenazi Gestapo and sold en masse to the USA where they were subjected to Mengele-like experimentation. Really. Which I am sure will be interesting for anyone who grew up in American during the Eisenhower era.

Ultra-leftist Haaretz, which generally likes the conspiracists, runs a TV review this week saying Ami Meshulam’s theory might as well be that UFOs kidnapped the Yemenite kids. Conspiracy nut “Ufologist” Barry Chamish — who publishes his “scoops” on Holocaust-denial web sites — has long been a devoted Meshulamite and has ties to Ami.

In a country where politician peccadilloes become known instantly, where the “stinky deal” with Shimon Peres was exposed immediately, where the “esek bish” affair was leaked right away, where military secrets might as well appear on Facebook, explain to me how the thousands of people who would have to have been involved in the “kidnappings” of hundreds of children all kept silent 65 years and not a single one ever spoke out!

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  • Stephen Duke

    Some of the reasoning in this article is ridiculous. Overall infant mortality rates in Yemen are irrelevant when discussing a subset of the population, but this article is dealing with events in another country! The article mentions that the central bureau of statistics was not formed until 1949 but omits to mention that the large scale aliyah of Yemenite Jewry occurred between the second quarter of 1949 and continued until the third quarter of the following year 1950- when the CBS was already operating. Also the idea that Yemenite Jews could not speak or understand Hebrew is nonsense, Yemenite Jews were an extremely religious community, were their Torah scrolls and other written in Zulu?

    I personally know of women who delivered healthy babies who were taken and then shortly thereafter declared dead without the parents being told the cause of death or allowed to see a corpse.

  • Donny Reich

    It’s no secret that Sephardim, especially Yeminites have been discriminated against by the Ashkenazi elite in Israel – and it still goes on today! Add to the mix, a chaotic healthcare system and chaotic government

    Yeminite babies were dying, and the nurses and doctors were too overwhelmed to to care – especially when the victims were Yeminite. So when a Yeminite baby dies and the hospital does not report it till later, or doesn’t know where the body is, so the family cannot see it, the already victimized Yeminites think that something fishy has happened, and jump to the conclusion that their baby was kidnapped. I probably would think the same thing.

    Meanwhile many young Yeminites were brought to secular kibbutzim, there payot cut off, and taught to be not-religious – a spiritual kidnapping!

    Nearly 70 years later as yeminites are still made fun of and are discriminated against in Israel, these hard feelings don’t go away, they just get stronger.

  • lemon juice

    and yet when you go to the son’s site which has a link in wiki it takes you to a completely different site. Somebody wants something kept quiet. Look up Rabbi “Uzi Meshulam” in Wiki , go to the bottom, link on to the son’s site, see what happens.

  • a very silly argument. you pick your md based on glowing touchy feely? what makes you think in 1950 Israelis could pick anything?

  • steven plaut

    any idea what social history was like in 1950 in israel?

  • Jay Lavine

    Assuming that these rumors are false, why do you think they have persisted? Might it have something to do with the perception of Mizrachi Jews that they’ve been discriminated against by the Ashkenazim ever since day one?

    Just look at all the divisions created in Israeli society: anti-religious vs. religious (especially at the founding of the state); secular vs. religious, a false dichotomy based on the Israeli penchant for seeing everything in black and white terms; Ashkenazim vs. Sephardim vs. Mizrachim; mitnagdim vs. hasidim; Litvaks vs. Galitzianers; hareidi vs. national religious; right-wing vs. left-wing (knee-jerk secular ideologies foreign to Judaism); and on and on.

    When the patient says he is too sick to fast on Yom Kippur, and the exam and the lab work and the scans are all negative, what do you do? Aside from the fact that you should have taken a good social history but maybe didn’t, you tell the patient he need not fast, because “the heart knows its own misery” (Proverbs 14:10). Don’t just stop after debunking the kidnapping myths; go over that social history.

    Comme on fait son lit, on se couche.

    • steven plaut

      people are prone to believe conspiracy paranoia. as for ethnic inequality in israel, see

      • Jay Lavine

        I appreciate your reply. Your article about ethnic inequality in Israel is primarily an economic one based on statistics. But what I am talking about is perception, which is often very different from actuality.

        Let me give another medical analogy. How do people judge whether their doctor is good or bad? Most have little knowledge of medicine and therefore lack the ability to know whether their treatment meets the highest standards or is substandard. Their perception of their doctor is based on the personal interaction they have with the doctor. A doctor whose personal characteristics convey a good impression to the patient may be a much worse doctor than another who lacks those interpersonal skills, yet, based on people’s perception, the former may be judged to be the better doctor even though the reality is far different.

        What I am suggesting, then, is that we consider the reasons why people have certain perceptions of how others see them, because, in fact, other people often do perceive them in certain ways because of unnecessary labeling based on appearance or background.