Exposure of archival documents by the Cohen-Kedmi Committee
The Yemenite Children Affair consists of the disappearance of about 1,000 babies of Yemenite immigrants to Israel during the first years to the establishment of the State (1948-1954). Many parents testified that they were informed by the hospitals where their babies were being treated that they died and have been buried, although the parents did not see their children’s bodies. Many parents refused to believe that their children have died, insisting that they were kidnapped. The affair was investigated by three committees: The Bahalul-Minkovski Committee - 1967-1968, investigated 342 cases, concluding that 316 of the children did in fact die. The Shalgi Committee - 1988-1994 concluded that of 287 cases studied, 222 babies died, and the fate of the rest is unknown. The Kedmi Committee worked during the years 1995-2001 and the materials brought before it were supposed to remain confidential until 2070, but public pressure over the past years has made the government reexamine the matter and expose the documents. On June 26 2016, in government decision 1584, Tzachi Hanegbi was appointed as minister in charge of investigating the matter.
In November 2016, in its decision 2040 the government approved the exposure of all archival materials from the Cohen-Kedmi committee, except for sensitive information which may undermine the privacy of those involved, and information which may harm the security of the State. In addition, files which the families involved were opposed to publishing, were also banned from publication.
As at January 2017, the committee’s materials were published in the State’s archives website. The materials were published on schedule, on December 28, 2016. According to a summary of the annexes published by the Governmental Unit for Freedom of Speech regarding 718 of the cases investigated, it was found that 95% of the babies died for sure, regarding 3% of the cases it is very likely that they died as babies, and regarding the remaining 2% there is a likelihood that they died.
According to the documentation, the Kedmi committee reached similar conclusions to those reached by its two predecessors, that most of the children died of diseases, and that no proof was found of an organized kidnapping of children. However, even after exposure of the materials, there are those who claim that the committee’s documents do not provide a convincing explanation to the disappearance of so many babies.
Decision date15/11/2015Partly Applied
Decision date13/05/2013Partly Applied
Decision date08/01/2016Partly Applied