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An interview on the disappeared Israeli Yemenite children An interview on the disappeared Israeli Yemenite children
by Joseph Gatt
2019-04-06 07:53:17
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For the original article see HERE!

Question: What makes you believe that the disappeared Yemenite children were adopted by Arab families?

First of all because I am a Jewish Israeli who was adopted by an Algerian Muslim family. Second of all because my foster family was forced to adopt me. That's how it all started.

Some 4,500 Yemenite, Mizrahi and Balkan descent Israeli children are said to have disappeared between 1948 and 1954. The stories were often similar. Families were living in transition camps in tents. Children would be taken away to hospitals, and nurses would claim the children were ill. Then the nurses would claim that the children had died, and no death certificate would be given. The children were never older than three years old, and often seem to have been male children.

yemeni_400Haaretz also argues in an article that the same story happened to a few Ashkenazi children. I would not have written this story of Prime Minister Netanyahu had not called this affair “an open wound” and Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said that the children were not dead and were probably given up for adoption. This was in 2016, because every time there was an investigation commission in the past, the commission would unconvincingly claim that the children had indeed died, and in the mid-1990s, even contemptuously gave the grieving parents death certificates, this despite the fact the parents had received military draft orders for their “dead” children.

Now while investigating this case, I proceeded by elimination. Were the children kidnapped to be sold into slavery or prostitution because Israel needed money. No way, forgive me for being cynical, Israel could have done so with Arab children, with Druze children, or with random children. They didn't have to be Mizrahi or Yemenite children.

Did Israel do so to sell the children into adoption? Israel didn't need money, as Israeli government bonds were popular among Jewish Americans and the Jewish communities were always generous with the State of Israel. Plus, if Israel really needed money by giving children away for adoption, they would have done so with 50,000 children, not 1,000 or 5,000 children. Third of all few families have come forward and claimed that they adopted Israeli children. Most Jewish families abroad adopt children from Korea or Vietnam or wherever, and Jewish law does not mandate that an adopted child has to be Jewish.

Now when you know that Israeli children from the Balkans, from Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq or Yemen have the same Middle Eastern complexions as Arab families, and that all Arab countries had cut ties with Israel, Israel had to find a way to maintain Israelis in Arab states. Since Israelis could not legally move to Arab states (there's always a shortcut, such as dual-citizen Israelis being allowed to go to Arab states) Israel needed born and bred Israelis raised by Arab families, who could later be used in various functions, mainly as spies.

I insist that it was usually expats or diplomats who adopted the Israeli children, because adoption is illegal in all Muslim states. Islam does not allow adoption. So there were two conditions: that the Arab families who adopted Israeli children live in a foreign country, and that they have the intention of returning to their home country at some point.

Question: Why do you seem to insist they were eventually used as spies?

What else could they be used for? Arab states tended to be totalitarian states, in some cases would not even allow tourists because they were worried spies would infiltrate among tourists. In many Arab states, you can only get a visa if you work for a diplomatic mission or if you have some kind of business mission. Furthermore most Arab states were socialist states that did not allow foreign businesses to do business, and nationalized all their businesses.

Now you have to be very careful what I mean by spies. You can be an overt spy, a covert spy or a mole. An overt spy knows he's a spy and everyone else knows they're a spy. A covert spy knows he's a spy but no one else knows he's a spy. As for moles, intelligence agencies know that they are spies, but even you yourself do not know that you're a spy.

So why use moles in Arab states? Arab states are incredibly hard to infiltrate. Attempts at teaching Arabic all fail, because there are so many regional and national varieties of Arabic, plus regional languages such as Berber languages that are in some cases spoken which make training spies to send to Arab nations difficult. Arab culture is also rigid, and it's hard to fit into tribal Arab cultures. So the only way to infiltrate Arab states is to have your people be part of the tribe, full-fledged members of the tribe.

What happens when you're a mole is that you are often under constant surveillance, but you don't know that you are under constant surveillance. You are then led to go one way or the other, to collect intelligence or to influence leaders, but you don't know that you are being led by an intelligence agency. And unlike spies, moles are not paid a dime by intelligence agencies. 

Question: The Yemenite children affair dates back to 1948-1954. Were there other adoptions since?

Yes there were. Now this is where knowledge of Israeli history comes in handy. The sexual revolution only really started in the 1960s in Israel. That is before the 1960s first sexual encounters tended to be late, and if you got your girl pregnant, you usually married her.

In the 1960s, especially in places like Tel Aviv and surrounding areas, a trend started where women would get pregnant and would be dumped by their boyfriends or partners. Social services would then try to convince the single mother to give the child up for adoption. The mothers would of course not be told where the child would be given up for adoption.

Now because the children were supposed to be moles and were not supposed to know that they were adopted, as Arab families could not tell their Israeli child that he was adopted, much less Israeli as adoption is illegal, children would often find out much, much later that they were adopted, in some cases would die not knowing that they were adopted.

Final question: why did you wait until February 2019 to write the story? What's your personal story?

Until 2016 I had too much on my plate to investigate my past and think about whether I was adopted and in what circumstances. I always identified as Jewish, until August 2016 never quite knew exactly how I was Jewish, and yet no one seemed to correct me when I was identifying as Jewish, even within my foster family.

Perhaps out of animal instinct, I desperately tried to gain Korean citizenship so I could at least visit Israel, perhaps move to Israel. I failed to gain Korean citizenship, and could not move to Israel with an Algerian passport.

I then spent three years, between 2016 and today, trying to learn everything I could about Israel, its past, and how this could be.

Now life as a mole can be complicated, often frustrating. As a mole, you get coded messages in the press (now that I know I'm a mole) which are so subtle any reader would take it as an ordinary article, but you as a mole knows it contains a message from you. Sometimes coded messages come from Presidents or Prime Ministers. That's humbling. But for many, many years now, I've been waiting for that phone call, or for that email, or to what I like to call, move to the other side of the barrier, cross the border to the other side. I've been waiting for years, still waiting. To be honest if someone could deliver beer every now and then I wouldn't complain about the rest. Staying dry and teetotaling is the most frustrating part.

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