Thursday, 17 January 2013

Were there forced adoptions of yemenite children in Israel?

Cathy Come Home - working class poor in Britain had their children taken away and sent to Australia to be used as free labour

A reader's comment included a Haaretz link but the article is behind a paywall so have not read the article linked below (I have no intention of helping the anti-zionist Haaretz newspaper with its financial problems. Haaretz recently had one of its columnists Daniel Leby take up the apartheid calumny, much to the delight of Israel's enemies. Haaretz with its disappearing Israeli readership (less than 5%) has a long record of publishing selective and distorted news about Israel and is understandably the paper of note only for foreign Ngos, the hard anti-zionist left in Israel and lazy foreign journalists happy to have their anti-Israel articles written for them).

The reader's comment was as follows:
I accept some of the premise on which you make this claim. Everybody suffered. But you overlook the removal of Yemenite children from parents who were told their children had died.
There is plenty of proof for that. Try starting from here.
There is plenty more in the way of discrimination going on, but things are much, much better nowadays. Seeking to cover early Israel in glory is counterproductve to presenting an honest face to the Jewish State.
on Were sepharadim discriminated against in the early years of the State of Israel (part 1)?
The Haaretz article introduction says that only 69 yemenite children were unaccounted for after deaths had been traced. If that is the case then Israel has little possible case to answer. 69 adopted yemenite children will be covered by abuse, violence and simple inability to cope cases. Maybe i'm wrong, so if you have information beyond the 69 please email me it.

It is of course possible that when the general state of illiteracy was seen by social workers, and the sometimes shocking hygiene of some in communities which immigrated to Israel (read more about this in coming weeks) children may have been forcibly adopted. With such low numbers of forcible adoptions in contention, it is hard to take a position on such happenings, whether there was justification or not.

But when comparisons are made with other european countries of the time such as Britain and europe it is possible to gain a better perspective. For example Britain has had a long and sorry history of taking working-class children away from parents and having them adopted out, even sending them away to Australia after telling the children their parents had died.

(O..C - The British 1960's,Ken Loach dir.,classic film ) Cathy Come Home raises big questions like this, as well as the more specific, such as whatever became of the thousands of children the closing credits tell us wereremoved into state care as a result of their parents' homelessness

….... the case of 130,000 British children from working-classhomes, often falsely told their parents were dead, who were sent toAustralia....... they were sent to do forced labour at places such as Bindoon, in Western Australia, for organisations such as the Christian Brothers and St Bernados.
…...with 903 applications made by local authorities in January 2012, it is estimated that 10,500 children will be subject to care proceedings by the end of 2012, which indicates a trend towards the removal of children from their parents. A forced adoption culture and silencing of birth mothers has existed across some decades of the 20th century.

Sweden and Norway had a differentpolicy with regards to minority Sami People, Kven and gypsies, one ofextermination. The policy of forcibly aborting single parents and 'feeble minded' was carried on until the 1970's.
Sweden is only now giving in to pressure to end the forced sterilization of LGBT people, after a campaign in the European Parliament.
Sweden likewise only in recent times gave up its forced sterilization of gypsies and Sami women begun in the 1930's by eugenicists and doctors seeking to rid the 'pure' swedish gene pool of 'untermenschen'.
As far back as 1919 Herman Lundborg took his racist “People Types Exhibition” on tour in Sweden which became the foundation of the Institute of Race Biology (wikipedia writes: "Swedish racism was an important ideological precursor for the later Nazism").

These european countries with their racist eugenicist beliefs attempted either to wipe out 'impure' races or in Britain's case deport working-class children seen as lesser beings into effective slavery abroad when they were surplus to requirements in Britain.

A policy in Israel may or may not have been adopted that was misguided, and social workers may or may not have taken children without justification. But one needs to understand the that they were working in a different age, and were thinking that what they did was the best for the child's own future rather than as a result of any intention to discriminate against or harm sephardim. That attitude seems to be still adopted in the UK today.

Whilst every one of those 69 yemenite children are obviously an open wound to their parents, even if every one of them was a terrible mistake, it is as nothing to the untold misery being practised on children in supposedly enlightened european countries today. 

I wonder if you have ever heard of the Sami People? Did you know about the British deportations to Australia? And as a last thought, about the hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi children sold as slaves (sexual and otherwise) in India? Media is very selective, focusing and magnifying the least bit of truth about Israel and we who care about Israel need to be aware of it. That does not mean sweeping mistakes under the carpet, just having some sense of proportion that Israel although in so many respects a light to the world, needs to be given a little slack, needs some understanding even of its imperfections.

I will continue the series of articles on the ingathering of sephardim to Israel. Forgive me if I still see this as a glorious episode in Israel's history, a feat unmatched ever, anywhere in the world.

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