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Publish the Ministry of Health’s Report on the Yemenite, Mizrahi and Balkan Children Affair

Photo by ELDAN DAVID, Government Press Office

According to a government decision, by the end of November 2021, some families of Yemeni, Mizrahi, and Balkan children will be able to apply to receive funding from the State. The decision allows families whose children have died, or whose fate is yet to be determined, as deemed by various committees that have operated over the years, to receive between NIS 150,000 and NIS 200,000 – provided they sign a statement that they will request no further financial claims from the state regarding their children.

On October 28, 2021, along with Amram, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Freedom of Information Movement, we appealed to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Finance, on behalf of four families who are entitled to compensation per the government decision. In the appeal, we demanded that the deadline for submitting applications be postponed until after the publication of the Ministry of Health's report on the topic, so that families entitled to compensation may make their decision on the basis of all the relevant information available to the state.

According to media reports, at the beginning of April 2021, a report was submitted to then Director General of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Hezi Levy, investigating the involvement of health professionals in the Yemenite, Mizrahi, and Balkan Children Affair. The report, submitted by Prof. Itamar Grotto, then Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Health, and Dr. Shlomit Avni, then Director of the Ministry’s Reduction of Health Inequalities Unit, concludes that medical staff separated parents from their children due to racist beliefs, even giving children up for adoption within the framework of their legal authority. This report has never been published for the general public.

In the organizations' appeal, Attorney Oded Feller, Director of ACRI’s Legal Department, wrote: "The families for which we are applying, along with other families, have the right to consider whether they wish to partake in the arrangement. The hourglass posed by the government decision is running out, and before families sign a waiver, it is their right to receive the full relevant infrastructure available to the government – facts, research, and conclusions, no less [...] as the government signs its citizens off on waivers, it is obliged to act with increased decency and good faith. It is obliged to offer them full disclosure, and is prohibited from hiding relevant information from them, which is entrusted to it in any case as a trustee of the public, certainly information that is clearly of a public nature."

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