Some scars don’t heal

Dear friends,


There are some scars that don’t heal, even after many decades have passed. One example is the scar carried by hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, of families of Yemenite, Mizrahi, and Balkan origin in Israel. As a resident of the Kfar Shalem neighborhood in Tel Aviv, I have been familiar with this story for years, having heard testimonies from my own family and from other members of the community where I grew up and where I still live.

According to these testimonies, children disappeared from various institutions, particularly from nurseries and hospitals. The parents were told that their child had died, but they did not receive death certificates and were not informed of the place of burial. For the rest of their lives, they have remained in doubt concerning the fate of their child. Their pain was made worse by the mistrust and patronizing attitude they faced when they told their story. Three official committees were appointed to investigate the claims, but their work was widely criticized. The media stigmatized the families’ claims as spurious and for many years their voice remained unheard.

The issue has emerged once again on the public agenda thanks to the activities of the families and of associations active in the field. Some 70 years after the events, and when many of the witnesses are no longer alive, it is probable that we will never be able to reveal the full truth. But things can still be done. In a letter to the Prime Minister that I wrote together with the Executive Director of ACRI, we proposed a series of steps: the release of documents; documentation and commemoration; the creation of a DNA database, and so forth.

We must make an effort to recognize this historical injustice and to support these grieving families and they try to heal.


Shimrit Habani-Twig
Legal Intern
Association for Civil Rights in Israel

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties

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