The Hidden Scandal
"And there is a need to lend them a hand
in finding their children - and
the stealers of their children."
(Yediot Achronot 1985).
* 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 kidnapped according to him.
* How had Yona Hovera lost her daughter?
An article by the late Dr. Hertzel Rosenblum (Chief Editor) was
published in "Yediot Acharonot", an Israeli mainstream newspaper,
on the November 12, 1985. This article addressed the issue of the
stolen children in Israel. However, as mentioned in previous
articles, it is a common misconception that these alleged crimes
were committed only against members of the Yemenite Jewish
community. This is evident in this article titled "The Hidden
Scandal." It states the following:
"We have grown tired of all the 'Investigation
Committee's of ours. However, when you read of
the shocking stories of the immigrants of 'The Magic
Carpet' [the operation to bring the Jewish
Yemenites to Israel, during the first years of the
existence of the State of Israel] , where at the
time of their arrival in Israel, the immigration
they had longed for, five hundreds of their
babies, which they had brought with them, were
stolen from them, and these disappeared into the
darkness, as if swallowed by the ground - you
cannot avoid demanding, with their devastated
parents: 'An investigation shall take place!'
Because there is not an exceptional case here,
but an organized crime, done by someone, or some
people, that turned the immigration of these
babies into a business, while they sold them for
greed, and this is a deed that if it would happen
elsewhere in the world, it would become an
international scandal. For instance, a few tens of
parents sold their children in Brazil, and see
what a scandal has arisen due to that deed, and
over there it has happened not with hundreds, but
with tens, and not stealing, but miserable parents
selling their own children. And here - a terrible
True: the scandal happened at a time when the
country was fighting for its existence, and
hundreds of problems it had to deal with were
there, but even so - our silence in this terrible
matter, that went on for a generation, has turned
us into partners in the crime.
Only with the Yemenite Jews - the quiet, modest
and defenseless people - could anyone act like
Any other immigrant community (the Russian, the
Iraqi, the American) would organize a pogrom on us
a long time ago, and rightfully so. But even the
Yemenites - their heart bleeds until this very day
for their children, that were stolen from them.
And there is need to lend them a hand in finding
their children - and the stealers of their
According to the "Mishkan Ohalim" organization that turned to
former Editor of "Yediot Acharonot", Mr. Moshe Vardi1,
the son of the late Dr. Hertzel Rosenblum, and requested permission
to re-publish this article, Vardi announced that under no
circumstances would he allow it. He even forbade them to publish
it in another newspaper, or their own, and his secretary let them
know that Vardi even said that, if they do publish it anywhere
else, that his newspaper would sue them. Also, you will see that
besides the mistake made by alleging that the crimes were committed
against the Yemenite Jews only, Rosenblum was also misinformed as
to the number of children stolen.
It is not surprising that "Yediot Acharonot" did not publish
(like other newspapers, such as "Ha`aretz", and "Yom Le-Yom")
more stories of children who could have been stolen,
The "Yom Le-Yom" newspaper, for instance, gave personal stories
of families who had their children disappear in mysterious ways.
One of these stories is that of the Chief Rabbi of Bnei-Brak,
Rabbi Shlomo Korach. The article reports the detailed search
Rabbi Korach and his family have been conducting, in search of
his missing sister and niece, who, according to him, were
kidnapped. Korach's family arrived in Israel with substantial
assets. They sent their money through London, and so were able to
buy their house in Jerusalem, which cost, back then, one million
Dollars. Korach was then a sixteen year-old boy, and was sent to
learn in the "Makor Haim" yeshiva. He tells the newspaper of his
"My parents, Rabbi Ichia and Naama, may they rest
in peace, died in sorrow for this story. They
immigrated to Israel, and arrived in Rosh Ha-Ayin
in 1949, and the nurses pressured them to hand
over their daughter, who was then only nine months
old, so they could examine her in the baby ward.
They did not want to part with their daughter. . .
But they took her, almost forcefully, and said:
'We will return her to you soon'. She was an
especially beautiful baby. We have not seen her
since. One day later, they told us she died.
My parents asked, demanded and begged to see the
grave. They were treated like rags."
His sister, Yona Hovera, living in Holon today, lost her daughter
as well. She and her husband, Haim, came to Ein Shemer where the
child, Masha, was taken from her mother to the baby ward.
The article reports Yona saying:
"One day, I arrived to nurse my daughter and they
told me: 'You can't nurse her today. She has
I was very surprised, since the child was
completely healthy, but they said she needs to be
sent to the Pardes Hannah Hospital, for three
days. I told them I will go consult my husband
and will be right back. We lived about five
meters away from the baby ward.
Three minutes later, I arrived, with my husband,
but they told us: 'They already took her.' Three
days later, a man arrived, announcing that Masha
Hovera had died. My husband asked that they bury
her. They told him: 'Are you her father? She has
died. Sign here.' He said: 'I'm not signing.
I want to see a body and bury it'.
They told him:
'They buried her yesterday, along with
another five children.'
My husband was in shock.
He asked: 'Are we in Israel or in Germany'?
He asked and begged to see the grave, and
they did not let him.
He said: 'I am not signing, nor mourning.'
Every day, I would go to the manager's office,
and beg that they show me where my daughter was
buried. A few days later, they manager told me:
'Go, there is a room downstairs, they will give
you your child, but do not touch her. She will
be given to you, wrapped up, and you return her
to the grave'. I went, and saw a strange package,
that didn't look like a dead child to me.
I felt I was being fooled. I said to myself,
I'll open it, maybe it's a dead cat.
I removed a rag, and another rag, until I reached
the last one, and found nothing. Only rags. I
started to cry: 'Why did you give me rags?' the
manager told me: 'We wanted to calm you down, we
didn't know you were so smart'. . ."
To this very day, they do not know of their child's fate. The
Ministry of Interior reported to them that the child is not
listed as dead. The Population management reported that she left
Israel in 1963, and the Welfare Department reported that there
was no record found regarding adoption.
The article also reports an interesting twist to this story.
Masha was named after an Israeli nurse that assisted the mother,
in Yemen, during the birth, and loved the child very much.
Members of the family suspect that this nurse, who lives in
Savyon (a city, in the Tel-Aviv area), has something to do with
their child's disappearance. According to Yona, the mother:
"She would tell me 'Don't let anyone touch her!'
I did not understand why she was telling me what
to do". The article also reports that the nurse,
who tried to delay their immigration to Israel,
would come to Israel once every two weeks.
The family members found her address, and went to
visit her. The nurse was showing them picture
albums, when Yona found a picture of a child,
looking much like Masha. She says "I asked her who
that child was, and she told me it was her
sister's daughter, as she grabbed the album, and
ran to a different room".
You - dear reader - should remember that these are only the
stories where the families were extra-suspicious of the
authorities, and were sure to check everything as thoroughly as
possible. This happened mainly with the rich families that felt
more "in control" in the camps. In most cases, the parents did not
suspect anything because these people, that brought them to Israel,
were the only people they could trust. It is commonly believed
that most cases weren't even reported, up to this very day.
Another interesting story reported in the same article tells the
story of a Yosef Aharon Hammami, who has already passed away.
Hammami came to Israel with two wives, Kadia and Mazal, and one
child was taken from each. Hammami died over ten years ago. His
wife, Mazal, tells the story of how her son was kidnapped.
Hammami's other wife has passed away by now. The family lived in
Beit-Dagon, when she was sent to give birth at the "Kaplan"
"I gave birth in the morning, to a healthy child.
My son weighed 2.5 kg, and the entire staff in the
birth room, including Professor Cohen,
congratulated me. They told me they would return
him to me the next day, so I could nurse him. The
next day, I waited to get my child returned to me,
and the nurse there, who was named Leah, told me:
'You can't get your child, he's in treatment, and
don't worry'. Two more days went by, all the time
when I am begging to see my son, and suddenly, the
nurse tells me, angrily these words, that I cannot
forget: 'You will never see him. He is in
treatment'. I started to cry, and my blood
pressure began rising. I asked her: 'What do you
mean 'in treatment'? If he died, tell me he died',
as I saw they told other women that gave birth to
dead children, and saw them, too. I wanted to see
what treatment they were giving my son. But she
did not let me, and kept on saying: 'You will
never see him. He is in treatment'. I thought I
was going crazy, and she started to 'calm me
down', by saying: 'Calm down, calm down. You have
two children at home. Raise your other children.'
But me, I didn't stop asking her:
'If he's dead, tell me he's dead, but what is
And she ignored me, and again told me
I turned to her and said:
'If someone would take your child, what would you do?
Why do you cause me sorrow?
If my son is alive, sick, or dead, I want to see him.
Let me see my son, just for a moment'.
And she answered me, again,
'You will never see him, he is in treatment.'
A few days later, a few doctors and a policeman
arrived, and I saw them talking, and looking at me.
I began to cry, I was in so much pain:
'You sold my son to this cop!'
They told me: 'You are speaking nonsense.'
And I, every time I saw a baby, I would go crazy
with sorrow, for my own child. A nurse came, and
'Don't talk back to the doctors. They can give
you an injection and kill you.'
I left the hospital, in great sorrow.
Someone in the hospital told me to go to the
health department, and complain.
But we, what did we know?
I would cry all the time. I couldn't sleep.
This is how two years of terrible depression
passed...Afterwards, I gave birth to a dead
child, and my husband attempted to comfort
me, while saying:
'You see, you can't cry too much'.
If this would happen to me today, I would fight.
Maybe even take another child and not leave
until they gave me mine, alive or dead.
But then, we only cried.
Up to this very day, I cannot forget my son.
I saw him for only half an hour, after birth.
And I feel he is alive. If a person is dead,
you can forget about him. But a live person,
you cannot forget. His soul remains.
I was immediately calmed about my dead son, but
in this case, I knew all along that he was alive.
It haunted me for a great number of years.
The Rabbis would tell me: 'You are right. You
cannot forget, but hold back your emotions, don't
show them.' "
Apparently in most such cases, this is exactly what thousands of
parents have done....held their emotions back....not showing them.
However, they never did forget. They cannot!
1Moshe Vardi, on the 22nd of January, 1998, was
"convicted of two counts of illegal audio surveillance"
(The Jerusalem Post, January 23, 1998).
According to "The Jerusalem Post", an English-language Israeli
newspaper, the two former Yediot Editors that were convicted
Moshe Vardi and Ruth Ben-Ari, former news Editor of "Yediot
Acharonot" had listened to a recording of a phone call made from
the house of Dov Yudkovsky, a shareholder and former editor-in-chief
In another instance, they listened to the tape of a phone
conversation between Arnon Mozes, one of Yediot's editors and Ofer
Nimrodi, one of the owners of Ma'ariv (another mainstream newspaper
Although "Yediot Acharonot" is the most widely-circulated
newspaper in Israel, Maariv is its number one competitor). Vardi has
admitted to his crimes. He was quoted as saying:
". . . I listened [to the conversations], I admit.
I was found guilty of listening to two recordings,
punished and will pay the fine."
© Yechiel Mann,