Three Orthodox Jews read a copy of the Hebrew Bible at a Jewish refugee camp at Hashid in the British Colony of Aden, Yemen, in 1949. (AP Photo/Gerald Malmed)
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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The stories have been circulating in Israel for decades: Newborn babies and young children of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries mysteriously disappeared shortly after arriving in the country, purportedly snatched away and given to childless couples of European backgrounds.Among the immigrants were more than 50,000 Yemeni Jews, often poor and with large families.But many say the reality was far more sinister, that the establishment kidnapped these children – and others of Iraqi, Tunisian, or Moroccan descent – to turn them over for adoption by Ashkenazi families in the belief that they could give them a better life.Avi Josef, a brother-in-law of Koren and leader of the Achim Vekayamim nonprofit group, said most estimates are that about 5,000 children went missing, mostly Yemenis in the 1950s.Josef said she was asked to take her 4-year-old sister Saada to a health clinic and leave her there. When she returned several hours later, she was told her sister had died, but the family was given no further details or a body to bury.
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