In the state of Israel’s early years, a number of parents in immigrant transit camps were told that their babies had died. Their families believe the babies were abducted by the Israeli authorities in the 1950s, and were illegally put up for adoption to childless Ashkenazi families, Jews of European descent. A younger generation is demanding answers.
«Last year I traveled to Israel to interview families who have been mired in what is known as the “Yemenite Children Affair,” where there were over 1,000 official reported cases of missing babies and toddlers, though some estimates from advocates are as high as 4,500. The children who disappeared were mostly from the Yemenite and other “Mizrahi” communities, an umbrella term coined in Israel for Jews from North Africa and the Middle East. While the Israeli government is trying to be more transparent about the disappearances, to this day, it denies that there were systematic abductions.» – MALIN FEZEHAI
a story i produced for visual reporter MALIN FEZEHAI is now online at THE NEW YORK TIMES. read about how during the last few decades henna ceremonies have regained popularity in israel’s yemenite jewish community, as an expression of pride in their heritage and traditions from yemen. “i am yemenite on both sides, and it’s a celebration of my wedding,” the bride, meyrav yehud, 24, said. “these are my roots.”
photos and words by MALIN FEZEHAI
so honored to work with malin on this article about the henna ceremonies of the yemeni communities in israel.
click here to read it all
in 2014, i debuted a collection of photographs from my work in YEMEN at an exhibition in the UAE.
to mark the occasion, i created a limited edition box set of prints, and planned to donate a portion of proceeds from both the large works and the boxes to a scholarship fund for a young girl i met while working in YEMEN the previous year.
ever since, i have been trying to find ways back to hand-deliver the funds, to volunteer, and to experience the county again.
however, the unending humanitarian crisis and war has blocked entrance for civilians, and made the personal donation impossible.
today, YEMEN faces a cholera outbreak that has infected over 1 million, a conflict that has displaced 2.7 million, and a humanitarian crisis (including rampant starvation) that has affected 21 million people.
as i have not been able to hand-deliver these funds to ensure their use for educational purposes, i have chosen instead to donate them to the INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE (IRC), an organization currently working in YEMEN to help people survive this crisis.