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Yemenite Community Backs DNA Bank
To Solve Missing Infants Mystery

Jerusalem Post, 2002.02.13, p. 5

"A DNA bank would be established to help solve the mystery of Yemenite infants who disappeared during the early years of the state, under legislatioasubmitted recently to the Knesset.

"The initiative was discussed yesterday at a gathering in the Knesset of Yemenite community leaders and families involved in the searches for the missing children. It earned wide support from participants.

"The DNA bill was introduced by MKs Zvi Hendel (National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu), Eliezer Sandberg (Shinui), and Arieh Gamliel (Shas).

"Hendel, head of the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee, convened the gathering to discuss the findings of a judicial inquiry into the disappearance of the infants. The commission's conclusions, published in November, rejected the notion of a widespread plot to snatch Yemenite babies and give them to Ashkenazi families for adoption.

"MKs and government officials called for continuing the efforts to resolve all cases to the satisfaction of the families.

"Hendel said the DNA bank would enable every person whose family lost a child and adopted children to make searches, and would facilitate the registering of DNA samples from graves. The bank would be managed by the Health Ministry.

"Moshe Nahoum, head of the World Federation of Yemenite Jewry, said the Kahan-Kedmi Commission did not use DNA testing and did not "discover the truth." Hendel, Sandberg, and Gamliel have also submitted legislation that would establish a state commission of inquiry into the affair. Under the proposal, a five-member investigative panel would include two representatives of the families, and the other members would also have to be acceptable to them.

"A representative of a family searching for a missing sibling said her family intends to take their struggle abroad, where they will launch a hunger strike and seek legal avenues.

"Deputy Minister Yuri Stern warned against internationalizing the controversy, saying that Jew-haters would only pounce on it. He said there were "terrible things that happened," and they must be uncovered.

"Ilana Livne Matztri, a participant in the session, said she got no answers from the judicial commission on the disappearance of her brother in 1954, born in Rehovot's Kaplan Hospital. She also said that many people who have iDformation were not summoned to testify before the committee.

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