Netanyahu called the episode one of the most 'painful' in Israel's history

Israel will compensate the families of children, most originating from Yemen, who disappeared in the years following the creation of the Jewish state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday, calling the affair one of the most "painful" in Israel's history.

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Human rights activists and immigrant Jewish families, many of whom migrated from Yemen, have claimed for decades that thousands of newborns were taken from their birth parents after 1948.

According to state documents, these babies were given to Ashkenazi Jewish couples (originally from Central and Eastern Europe) in Israel and abroad. Doctors then assured the birth parents that their child was dead and did not hand over the body to them.

The case gave rise to accusations of racism and "discrimination" made by Middle Eastern and North African Jews against the "establishment" controlled by the Ashkenazis who founded the state.

"It is time for the suffering of the families from which the babies were taken to be recognized by the state (...) and for these families to be compensated," Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office. Read more at i24