In addition to kidnapping Yemenite children in the 1950s, Israeli authorities also stole their sifrei kodesh on a giant scale. A Knesset committee has been set up to examine the extent of the banditry and return the property wherever possible.
Typically, immigrants reaching planes with their sifrei Torah, seforim and other property were told that the goods must be transported by ship. They never saw them again because government offices dealt with their possessions like public property.
The committee visited the Hebrew National Library to view the Eilat Collection stolen from Yemenite immigrants in 1951. Some seforim still bear the original owners’ names.
A library official explained that the collection was once “koshered” by a committee of library and Yemenite representatives who decided to distribute sifrei Torah the library had to Yemenite shuls and allow the library to keep manuscripts whose owners were not demanding them back.
The library has now sorted and categorized the literature to enable Yemenite families to identify it and claim it back.