"It is Israel’s darkest secret – or so argues one Israeli journalist – in a country whose short history is replete with dark episodes."
"Last month Tzachi Hanegbi, minister for national security, became the first government official to admit that hundreds of babies had been stolen from their mothers in the years immediately following Israel’s creation in 1948. In truth, the number is more likely to be in the thousands."
"For nearly seven decades, successive governments – and three public inquiries – denied there had been any wrongdoing. They concluded that almost all the missing babies had died, victims of a chaotic time when Israel was absorbing tens of thousands of new Jewish immigrants."
"But as more and more families came forward – lately aided by social media – to reveal their suffering, the official story sounded increasingly implausible. "
"Although many mothers were told their babies had died during or shortly after delivery, they were never shown a body or grave, and no death certificate was ever issued. Others had their babies snatched from their arms by nurses who berated them for having more children than they could properly care for."
"According to campaigners, as many as 8,000 babies were seized from their families in the state’s first years and either sold or handed over to childless Jewish couples in Israel and abroad. To many, it sounds suspiciously like child trafficking..."
"Testimonies indicate that lawmakers, health ministry staff, and senior judges knew of these practices at the time. And the decision to place all documents relating to the children under lock untl 2071 hints at a cover-up..."
"These crimes were committed not against Palestinians but other Jews. The parents whose babies were abducted had arrived in the new state lured by promises that they would find in Israel a permanent sanctuary from persecution."
"The stolen babies were not randomly seized. A very specific group was targeted: Jews who had just immigrated from the Middle East. Most were from Yemen, with others from Iraq, Morocco and Tunisia."
"The Arabness of these Jews was viewed as a direct threat to the Jewish state’s survival, and one almost as serious as the presence of Palestinians. Israel set about `de-Arabising` these Middle Eastern Jews with the same steely determination with which it had just driven out most of the area’s Palestinians.