Testimony of Eti Meira Persik, Sister of Ilana:
My parents immigrated from Yemen in 1947 and settled in Even Yehuda. In 1950 my sister, Ilana, was born in a maternity hospital in Kfar Saba. When Ilana was 10 months old, she got a mild cold, and my father took her to Tipat Halav (family health center) where they told him he needed to take her to a hospital. My father arrived at Beilinson hospital with Ilana, it was a Thursday evening. The staff there told him to leave Ilana for the night and to come back the next day. When my father returned the next day - Friday morning, they told him ‘your girl died.’ My father asked ‘where is the girl? How is it possible she died?’ He stayed there for a few hours, almost until Shabbat, argued with them, tried to find out what happened, but nothing helped, and he returned home. In the hospital they told him she died and that they buried her, but my father never received any death certificate nor was he told of a place of burial. I was born in 1955. When I was 12, we received a document by registered mail - an enlistment order to the IDF for Ilana Gazal. I asked my father ‘who is Ilana Gazal?’ And then my father told me the whole story and I realized that my sister was abducted. Since then, I have tried several times to find out what had happened, but I had no one to turn to, until Rabbi Uzi Meshulam raised awareness about the issue, and they gave him the details. In addition, about one year ago, Member of Knesset Nurit Koren organized DNA tests in the Yemenite Heritage Center in Rehovot and I gave my sample.
Osnat, Eti’s daughter and Ilana’s niece, adds:
My grandpa and grandma passed away with pain in their hearts. Without knowing what happened to their child. I am furious at the State. For the crimes and this injustice that was done to us and to all the families of the abducted. I remember what my grandma told, about when they were still on the ship, on their way to this country. How they took from her and from the rest of the women the beautiful jewelry they brought with them from Yemen “so the ship won’t sink from the weight,” how they humiliated them. How they were put in a situation where they take a child with a cold to a hospital and the State just abducts the child from them. I have a great anger within me. Personally, I am an activist who raises awareness of this affair everywhere I can. I am now the third generation fighting to bring justice to light and it still isn’t happening. The state silenced and trampled over us all those years and continues to do it to this day. I see my mother, I see her sister, my aunt, who is in bad health. What is the state waiting for? For all of them to leave this world? Why isn’t anyone waking up? I hope and wait for the moment that justice will be done because in the meantime we are only being silenced.
When I was 12, we received a document by registered mail - an enlistment order to the IDF for Ilana Gazal. I asked my father ‘who is Ilana Gazal?’ And then my father told me the whole story and I realized that my sister was abducted.
I see my mother, I see her sister, my aunt, who is in bad health. What is the state waiting for? For all of them to leave this world? Why isn’t anyone waking up?