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NETANYA page 67
tual friction, more bitterness."
In fact, as the explosions were
reverberating in Bet Lid, Mr. Ra-
bin's government was meeting on
the Housing Ministry's contro-
versial plan to construct some
5,000 new units in West Bank
settlements in "Greater
Jerusalem." They decided not to
decide, by creating a ministerial
committee to supervise building
over the Green Line. Even on a
day of such horror, the inconclu-
sive nature of the decision did not
go unnoticed. "The problem isn't
terrorism," journalist Barnea
grumbled. "The problem is the
combination of terror attacks
with what seems more and more
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to be Mr. Rabin's loss of direc-
Mr. Weizman's suggestion to
suspend the peace talks, not justc'
to give the Palestinians pause
about their attitude but to enable
the Rabin government to do
the same, makes eminent sense.
For the problem is not just
Mr. Arafat's unwillingness to
exhibit leadership but Mr. Ra-
bin's propensity to avoid it, too.
Unless there's a turnabout on
that score, Mr. Barnea conclud-
ed darkly, "the terrorism will con- c\
tinue, the negotiations may
continue, but the government will
be finished." Ill
Jerusalem (JTA) — The Israeli
Cabinet has agreed to appoint a
state commission of inquiry to in-
vestigate the disappearance of
Yemenite children in the 1950s.
The children had been part of
a massive airlift that brought
tens of thousands of Yemenite
Jews to Israel from 1948 to 1950.
Some leaders in the Yemenite
community have alleged that Is-
raeli authorities at the time ab-
ducted the children and sold
them for adoption in Israel and
The Cabinet's decision comes
three weeks after another com-
mittee — headed by retired
Judge Moshe Shalgi and ap-
pointed six years ago to investi-
gate the matter — issued its
.That committee examined 505
cases and determined that in all
but 65 the children died of vari-
The committee also concluded
that the children for whom no
documentation was found had
also probably died of disease.
It found no evidence support-
ing allegations by some leaders
in the Yemenite community that
the children were sold for adop-
tion in Israel and abroad.
In March of last year, about 10
heavily armed members of a
Yemenite sect led by Rabbi Uzi
Meshulam holed themselves up
in a fortified house near Tel Aviv,
protesting what they described
as the "disappearance and sale of
thousands of Yemenite children."
In a scene reminiscent of the
Branch Davidians who holed up
in Waco, Texas, last year, scores
of armed followers of Meshulam
barricaded themselves in the
home of their leader in the de-
velopment town of Yehud. They
vowed to kill or be killed if the
government did not meet a de-
mand they issued.
They demanded that the Knes-
set conduct an "honest" inquiry
into the fate of an undetermined
number of Yemenite babies who
disappeared during 1949 and the
Doctors who recall that period,
when tens of thousands of
Yemenites arrived in Israel, say
the hospitals were ill-equipped in
the development towns to which
the immigrants were assigned.
Many children died and many
were taken into hospitals with-
out being properly registered.
Rabbi Meshulam's followers
were dispersed following a mas-
sive police operation, and sever-
al sect members were arrested in
Labor Knesset member Avig-
dor Kahalani, who joined other(
parliamentarians in drafting a
Many were taken
bill to set up a state commission,
welcomed the government's de-
He said it was an important
gesture toward the Yemenite
community, for whom the fate of
the children is a painful episode
in their history.
"This commission will give the
feeling to the families that some-
body cares about them," he said.
"I think maybe we will find new
documents, meet new people that
didn't speak to investigators be-
fore and I think we will find more
In December, after receiving
the Shalgi committee report,
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
described the disputed disap-\
pearances as "one of the most
painful periods in the history of
the State of Israel."