Representatives demand the publication of a questionnaire on the children of Yemen

The Knesset Health Committee meeting on Monday was eventful. While discussing an unpublished investigation by the Ministry of Health, alluding to wrongdoing by health care workers in the so-called “Yemeni children’s case,” MPs called for the findings to be made public.

During the committee meeting, the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Health raised the fact that the investigation conducted by the former Deputy Director-General of the Ministry, Professor Itamar Grotto, indicating the involvement of medical personnel in numerous child abuse in Yemen, North Africa and the Balkans during the 1950s, has not been published.

Legal Counsel, Meir Broder, backed the criticisms of Professor Shivra Schwartz, a researcher in the history of medicine, who denied Grotto’s findings about the potential involvement of health care workers. Browder’s denial of Grotto’s report raged.

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Since the 1950s, more than 1,000 families, mostly immigrants from Yemen, but also dozens from the Balkans, North Africa and other countries in the Middle East, have claimed that their children have been systematically abducted in Israeli hospitals and given up for adoption, sometimes abroad.

“Child abduction is like an open wound that refuses to heal even after decades,” said committee chairwoman Edith Silman. “A healthy society is one that knows how to analyze itself and return to the source of truth.”

Officially, he explained that the children died as a result of medical treatment. The families do not believe it and claim that the children were given to sterile husbands from Europe. Although previous investigations denied the mass kidnappings, these suspicions remain, further deepening the divide between Ashkenazi Jews and Jews of eastern descent.

“As healthcare professionals, we need to think about how we will deal with this problem and apologize to the families; see how we can prevent this from happening again,” Grotto said during the hearing. The same questions about immigrants from Ethiopia remain and the issue has not been resolved, he said. distance.

“So it’s more important to talk about it,” Grotto said. ” In the endThere is a racist element to this… The survey’s main recommendation is to have an open discussion, to allow all stakeholders to participate, so that we can continue the discussion. We need to close this case.”

Itamar Grotto, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Health, speaks during a press conference on the coronavirus, May 29, 2020 (Screen capture: Facebook)

The legal advisor said the report, written at the end of Grotto’s 2021 term as deputy director general of the Health Ministry, was not published because it raised questions from the ministry that needed further investigation.

“Today, everyone learned about this issue,” Likud MK Keren Barak said during the session. We will not give up until the truth comes out. It is time for the Ministry of Health to take full responsibility for its role in this matter, and for the State of Israel to recognize the appalling injustice done to thousands of families in Yemen, the Middle East and the Balkans. »

Former MP Nurit Koren, who led a lobby for the cause of Yemeni children, has demanded the report be published.

“It is time for families to accept the truth,” she said at the meeting. “Early in 2018, we revealed the involvement of the nursing staff – they used the children for research purposes without parental permission, they became biological waste and there was nothing to bury… The time has come, the time has come, there is a health survey ministry but nothing has been done Publish it. This is a disgrace to the State of Israel. The investigation should be published even if it was not in the doctors’ interest at the time.”

The Ministry of Health said, on Sunday, that it is preparing to open the grave of an infant who died in 1952 next week to assure the family of Yemeni immigrants, that the child is indeed buried there and that it was not taken from him. 64 years ago.

In February 2021, the previous government approved a compensation package of 162 million shekels (nearly $50 million) for the Yemeni children’s case.

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