Israel to spend $50M compensating families of children who disappeared in state’s early years
(JTA) —The Israeli government approved a plan Monday to provide compensation of up to $60,000 to some of the families of children who went missing while in state care in the 1950s.
But advocacy groups and several of the families have already rejected the plan, calling it a cynical move designed to silence their larger demands for accountability. They are demanding an official apology, an expansion of the eligibility criteria, and further access to state records that might shed light on the fate of their relatives.
The compensation plan —amounting to roughly $50 million —represents a new phase for what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week said was “among the most painful affairs in the history of the state of Israel.”
Over the years, hundreds and perhaps thousands of Jewish families from Middle Eastern countries, chiefly Yemen, reported that their babies and small children disappeared in the decades following Israel’s establishment.
Many suspected that hospital and social work officials abducted their children and gave them away to Ashkenazi families in Israel and the United States, who were thought to be better caretakers and, in some cases, had lost their own children during the Holocaust.